What a Zoo Trip!

Excited to see fish!
Excited to see fish!

Living in such a prime location in SE Portland, we have a very easy time getting across town for a visit to the zoo. Simply walk a couple blocks to the bus stop, ride it downtown and catch the train right to the zoo!

Second Tuesday of every month is discount day. Simply $4 for one adult and the little girl is free. $5 gives a day pass for public transit, so I spent the $9 total for the day and had a grand adventure with my little girl. It really can’t get any cheaper or better than that!

The last time we took Marin to the zoo, she was under a year old and slept through most of it. Her favorite animals (when awake) were the arctic terns and the river otter. Both of them made her crack up laughing.

Now Marin is 16 months old and she had such a grand time looking at all the animals. She walked most of the zoo, periodically catching a ride up on my shoulders, but staying awake well past her regular nap time to see all the varying residents. At the very end we stopped in a quiet spot to nurse and she promptly fell asleep. I moved her to her stroller where she didn’t stir at all as we walked past the last two animals in the zoo (tiger and leopards), caught the train back downtown and  met up with Seth as he got off work. Eventually after a couple hours of wandering through random stores that I had never ventured into while she was awake, we decided to wake her up. The tuckered little girl had no interest in waking up at that point, but her parents are admittedly slightly selfish and didn’t want her late nap to run too long and cause an interruption in their own sleep later that night.

We have now scheduled Tuesdays off as our family adventure day and I even marked the second Tuesdays as zoo days on the calendar for the next couple months. I think with Marin’s love of animals it is well worth making a day trip out of the zoo every month when possible.

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Pettal Works

Well, I accidentally pushed a button while working on getting info put into my shop on Etsy, and now it is a live shop! Didn’t mean it to be so soon, but hey, when the baby is fussing and you’re just trying to finish up some stuff, sometimes a button or two gets pushed without really meaning to.

Anyway, Seth’s and my shop is open for business!

The funny thing is that of course it is recommended for you to have a fair number of items to sell right away when opening up a shop. We do have more coming up. I just have to take better photos and list them. But right now there is a tantalization of 2 listings. Yes that is right. Two.


For those of you who would like to take a look, (remember, there’s only two listings so it shouldn’t take you more than a minute!) our shop can be found at pettalworks.etsy.com



All constructive comments are welcome. Please feel free to add your opinion about things.

Remember that this shop is still an adventure under construction. Things will change hopefully on a daily basis. More items are planned to be added by the end of the weekend.

This really is an education for me, and I would like to thank my daughter for still taking naps so I can have a chance to work on the shop for an hour every day. I would also like to thank my husband Seth for his encouragement.


Oregon Museum of Science and Industry

For the random person who does not know, OMSI makes a grand family adventure with two wonderful children’s areas. One for the slightly older children (and adults) where you can interact with projects and experiments. The other for youngsters from newborn (okay really, what newborn is going to play?) to 8-9? year olds where they can play with balls and wind tunnels, sand and funnels, building blocks, water, puzzles and so much more!

Last year Marin seemed a little too young to benefit fully from the scientific playground, but now she is 1 1/2 and thoroughly enjoys trying to keep up with the other kids or just doing her own thing. Seth’s brother Andrew was kind enough to get us a family membership for this year, so we have tried to go a number of times already. Each attempt has been thwarted though by some means or other. Either Rinny falls asleep before we get there and I don’t have the heart to wake her up, or we just run out of time before having to pick Andrew’s daughter up from school.

Today we woke up early, had breakfast with Seth before he left for work, then I prepared Marin and I for a morning bike ride to OMSI. I thought I was doing well, but by the time we got to the museum Marin had fallen asleep again. I thought that this one time maybe I would wake her up and hope that she would nap later, but when we got to the doors I discovered that they were closed today. NO!!!!! After trying 6 or 7 times just in the last 2 weeks to get there, the one time I make it and they are closed! What a disappointment.

Try again later!


A Project for the New Year

You know how some people set New Year’s Resolutions? In fact, most people in Canada and the States do. Well, seeing as I made a point years ago to never set a resolution for the start of a new year, I’ve been working on something since mid December and hopefully will get it up and running by the end of the next little bit. See… it’s not because of a calendar date!

My little thing I want to get up and going, is an Etsy store. I’m sure that most of you have heard of Etsy before. Handcrafted items mailed to you in a lovingly wrapped package, etc.

I do have one little problem though. While most people seem to have set up stores because they make too much of one thing for the fun of it and no longer have room in their house, and have to sell their items in order to make room to make more things, I’ve got a little different problem. I like making too many things, and don’t make the time for any one thing! So what to set the store up with?

Years ago I used to draw with charcoal. They were on regular sized art paper, but took ridiculously long to finish because of all the detail that I would try to put into it. Right now I just don’t have any place to leave something like that set up, away from careless fingers.

Currently I’ve been having fun making wool leggings with skirts for Marin, small kites out of tissue paper and bigger ones from recycled wind surfer sails, as well as some other random crafty stuff. It would be great fun if the kites were to be big sellers, but who is to say that any of them will sell at all? Set up with something special in mind? or put out a bunch of different items and see what sells?

Grrr! and then there is the issue of taking wonderful pictures of said items. I’m not a photographer! Worse yet, I don’t know how to properly tweak photos on the computer to make them look better.

Well, I guess instead of a New Year Resolution to stop doing something, start doing something else or change something I don’t like, this New Year project will be to create a working shop with real income (no matter how small it starts).

Cheers everyone! Here’s to being creative in 2014!

Christmas on the Beach

Ahhh! So much has been happening, and there has been so little time/discipline to update my blog. Someone smack me over the head?

Looks like the last little update was to show pictures from our two week vacation out to Maine at the end of October. Since then, Marin and I took a trip up to Canada with my dad, visiting family and friends. Then recouped a week or two before Seth’s brother came to visit for two weeks from San Diego, C.A. during which time my older sister Layne also came down for a visit from Sooke, B.C..

December seemed to just be crazy in the way that every December gets for people, but we managed to keep the actual holiday time low key and pleasantly quiet.

Two days before Christmas, our little family (plus Andrew’s dog Lorax) headed out to the beach house in Manzanita. The weather turned sunshiny blue for us, making for wonderful beach walks! The very first afternoon Marin insisted on continually going out to the waves. They would recede out and look like they weren’t coming back in, so she would toddle out there with me in tow, then the waves would build up and come rushing back up the beach, sending a look of concern across Rinny’s face as she ran pell-mell back towards her daddy before I would scoop her up, thus rescuing her from getting wet. Unfortunately, one exceptionally large wave snuck up over the tops of my boots, drenching my feet. That was Monday. Today is Thursday and despite them sitting in front of the heater they are still damp. Grrrr. Lesson learned.

We have a slight fascination with bones right now. At least, I do. I’ve been carving pendants and pieces for earrings out of elk and dear jaw bones. Down on the beach we kept finding (and collecting) seagull bones. Some of them were nicely cleaned from soft tissue, but other times I had to work a little to get the prime vertebrae off the rest of the bird. Lorax of course thought they smelled wonderful and we were a little late in pulling him off one once, so now he smells faintly of dead seagull. Eeeew!

How was everybody’s Christmas? Did you get out and have some forced family fun? We saw a lot of that happening on Christmas Day. Families out kicking a ball around, looking like they all would much rather be sitting in front of a screen somewhere drinking hot chocolate or apple cider.

I was given a wonderful gift this year. Busy people out there who cook for your families every night, you will understand. I was given the day off from cooking and cleaning! And guess what! There was an absolutely delicious meal made that not only looked grand, but was so good that I hardly left any room for dessert, and ate some of the left-overs for breakfast this morning too!

Alright, we had a good time. Tell me about yours!

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The Issues Around Driving and Licenses

You go to take a step in one direction, but get told you can’t until you take steps in another one.

When I got my permanent residency, the lady who aproved me for it told me that I could now go get a state driver’s license. So earlier this week I went to the DMV to get a license, going prepared with everything I thought I would need, but the fellow at the front desk told me that now with a PR card I was eligible for a Social Security Number and thus could not get a driver’s license without first getting an SSN.

Back at home I searched the net to find out what I needed to do to get my SSN. In my searching, I printed out a form to fill out, and discovered that with the same form I could apply for a number for our daughter! So I filled everything out and the next day little Rinny and I rode Chester (my bicycle) across the river to the Social Security Department, where I first had to go through security twice because I had forgotten about a little knife that I keep in my purse/diaper bag. It was 1/4 inch too long, so I had to take it out to my bike then go in and through security again. On the other side, we found a row of seats with room for Marin to play while we waited. Oh my goodness, that little girl can sure make a racket with just her happy sweet voice! There were squawks and squeals and all sorts of high-pitched noises coming from her as she played with items from the bag.

At the gate/window Marin continued her cheerful one-sided bantering as I tried to hear what the thankfully good-natured fellow on the inside was asking me. He quickly understood the difference that Rinny and I were in, being from Canada, but I think he probably deals with immigrants quite often! Anyways, despite having thought that it was going to take a boringly long time to accomplish, the wait and the cheerful help at the window, coupled with having gone prepared with all possible necessary documents, came to a surprisingly quick culmination. Before I knew it we were walking out the door with receipts and the expectation of receiving our cards in the mail within a week!

Now back to the driver’s license…. well….. we still have to wait until the SSN cards come before I can pursue that any further. In the meantime, after having briefly perused through the driving manual they gave me, I’ve noticed more often than before the crazy drivers out there who through neglect to follow the rules of the road would cause collisions and crashed were it not for the awareness of the drivers around them (who are saving their own necks by yielding their right-of-way to the crazy person).

People out there! Drive safe! Suck up your pride and browse through a manual to brush up on the little things that you don’t even realize you have forgotten! Otherwise, you might end up being the one who gets the rude gesture from me on my bike. I’ll do it!



What’s With The Rodents?

If you look back in the history of this blog, you will see that last winter we had a little problem of mice living in the basement with us. So far we have not had any more mice visits, but last night we had a different kind of visitor.

A squirrel!

We probably were asking for it, seeing as we leave the garage door up about 6 inches for better airflow, and we do live in a city that is full of squirrels, so it actually is more of a surprise that we haven’t had one of them visiting us sooner!

Seth woke up to the squirrel run over his shoulder and face, then leap up onto our headboard, run the length and down under the crib which we have set up as a co-sleeper. He didn’t know what it was, as he was in a very groggy “just woke up” state. But when the squirrel ran out into the beam of his red light as he took a leak, he said he barely kept from squealing with surprise.

When I woke up an hour later to nurse Marin, he told me casually that there was a squirrel in the basement. I didn’t believe him. It took him telling me the details of how he knew it was a bushy-tailed rodent before I came to terms with the craziness of it.

We left the garage door open for the rest of the night and in the morning there was no sign of our late night visitor. Presumably he found his way back outside to his own domain.


Well?! Well?! Where is it?!!!

I was cooking dinner when Seth came bouncing up the stairs, having just got back from work. There was no “I’m home”, “Hey honey” or “How was your day?” Just a “Well?!!!”

Come on! Who says that as the first words out of their mouth? “Well?!!”

Well…. okay, my husband does!

Down stairs I had left the envelope that my permanent residency card had just arrived in, and that’s what he was wanting to know about.

“Well? Well? Where is it?!” he kept saying, until like a doufus the light finally came on in my brain.

My wallet was sitting on the end of the counter and just as I recognized what he was asking about and started to reach for it, he excitedly jumped over and snatched it before I could say anything, excitedly rifling through my cards until he found the new one. A big grin was plastered to his face!

The cards are pretty cool. They have everything a regular driver’s license has, plus a fingerprint, high-tech emblems that you can only see at the right angle, and the back pretty much has all the info again but in a crazy form that reminds me of old camera negatives. Pretty dang cool!

Life Or Death In Portland

Everybody says that cycling in Portland is easy and safe for the most part.

I agree.

But sometimes you get reminded that you are still just riding two wheels with no bodily protection while the other road users are rushing around surrounded by a metal roll-cage and sometimes they don’t give a damn about you.

Seth and I were out for a ride with our new baby seat attached to the back of my bike, and it was Marin’s first time riding in it. We had a nice enjoyable trip out, but on our way back we, no kidding, nearly died. With our road going straight through and the side road having a stop sign, fortunately we naturally slowed down a little bit, because a fellow in a black pickup truck flying high as a kite gunned his machine of terror through the stop sign and straight into our lane, missing us by mere inches. He swerved away into his proper lane without slowing, careening down the street to the next intersection where he ran another stop sign, narrowly missing getting broadsided by a thankfully more attentive driver who had the right of way but braked just in time to save himself. Even after the crazy dude was out of sight, while we were standing in shock trying to catch our breaths and calm down, we could still hear his tires squeal around corners as he drove like hell was on his tail, around an elementary school and it’s quiet neighbourhoods.

Is Portland good for cycling in? Yes. Just keep your eyes out for the crazies and use common sense, ’cause you’re the only one protecting yourself from the cold metal terrors of the road.