In the Works!

My stomach was roiling with satisfaction and uncertainty. Anticipation and finality.

After compiling the final immigration package for my US Naturalization, I got Seth to look over everything, then took a deep breath and signed where needed.

The package got sealed.

I handed it to Seth, and he put it in his bag to mail off on his way to work.

The final step to process. The beginning of the end.

We could have moved anywhere in the US during this whole immigration stuff, but we like it here in Portland, and we wanted to show stability in our paperwork, so have stayed safe and comfortable. Now after almost 6 years, immigration is almost over. We will not be able to use it as an excuse to stay in our comfortable ruts. There will be nothing holding us down, and so there is the very feasible and needed choice to do the drastic, do the scary, leave our comforts, step into the unknown.

But not quite yet! Whew!!!

I just got the appointment notice for biometrics, which will be in two weeks, and then will still have to have an interview and civics test.

It is all very exciting. It is a hovering reminder that time moves quickly and there is only so much of it. Use it wisely. How am I preparing my family? We will move soon. Will we be ready?

Still so many questions.

 

Hard Insurance Lesson with a Bus

Have you ever wanted to convert a school bus into an RV? Maybe live in it? making it a tiny home? Or maybe you just want to have a really super cool adventure vehicle?

We want that. All of the above.

Of course, there are some limits for each person’s (family’s) situation. It wouldn’t be very feasible for our family to live in one right now, as we do not have a nomadic income to support ourselves with… yet. So right now, we would settle on a bus being a frickin’ awesome adventure vehicle for exploring Oregon and the surrounding area!

So that’s what we did. We bought a bus with the intent of turning it into an adventure-mobile.

DSCN3000

But……

We bought a bus that was one size too big. Commercial size. No problem, right? Just pull all the seats out and get it registered as an RV, then get a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL).

Um…. yes….. except for two little details that pertain to us here in Oregon.

1) Oregon does not allow changing the registration of a vehicle to RV unless the conversion was done by a professional shop. We don’t have the money to go that route. Heck, who DOES?!!!!

2) We have never owned any type of vehicle in Oregon before. Insurance became an issue of sleepless nights proportion. Coverage for a heavy vehicle would be expensive for anybody, but no-one was willing to cover us without already having vehicle history in Oregon.

Wow. For some reason we did not see that coming, and we messed up big time! Openly admit it. Our bad.

Now what?!!! It would make a really big chicken coop. Or an awesome barn for some goats. But it’s in amazing tip-top condition! Too nice to put animals in!

So what did we do? We sold it.

Whew! What a relief! Glad to have that great big thing out of our driveway!

It was a pretty awesome thing to own though, even for such a short time and without being able to DO anything with it. We thought neighbors might not like it, but seems people came scrambling out of the woodwork to talk to us about it in a positive way! Even people we had never met before, stopped to smile and ask questions.

Now…. lets go find a smaller bus, and one that is already registered as an RV!

Go Team Crazy! Go!

Side note; We have discovered there are some states that will allow RV status to be granted to a vehicle with the intent to convert. PLEASE check the regulations in your state or province before purchasing a skoolie project!

Our New Home Art Studio

With young kids in the house, and no safely designated area to do art, we’ve defaulted to trying to cram out results during nap time or other opportunistic moments.

Not any more!!!!

We just took a room in our house, put a gate across the doorway, and instantly gained a safe place to leave projects half-done.

It has proved itself very useful already, as a place I can leave paintings to dry, clay sculptures to sit untouched until another free moment, and sewing projects can be left out without the worry of kids pulling on the sewing machine chords. Stay at home seamstress’ out there, you know what I’m talking about!

It has taken us almost two years to take the plunge and commit to turning this room into a studio. Why? We thought we needed the money that renting it out gave us. But…. when we figured out a way to not need that, a whole new freedom opened up! I can pursue my creative side every day, even if only a half hour at a time. It has also made filling my Etsy orders much easier and less stressful.

Why didn’t we do this sooner?!!!!

I encourage you to make your own studio at home. Take the plunge! Be it a corner of the living room, one end of the kitchen counter, or that old tool shed in the back yard. Make a space dedicated to you and your passion!

Go on, do it!

 

 

 

Something New

One year has gone by with no personal vehicles. It has been fun, and I know it will end soon, so I am looking for the next challenge.

Does anybody have an idea or two?

I’ve already done the blindfold thing, wearing a bandana over my eyes for three days. Now THAT was something to get used to! That was back in …. 2008-9? I have so much respect for the blind now. It was quite the eye opener.

The summer I postponed hiking the Appalachian Trail (2010), I challenged myself to take a scuba diving course, getting certified in both open water and dry-suit.

Right now, having just gotten through the holiday festive foods, I have cut out cane sugar. This is day three. Mostly over the headache now, but still craving sweets. Wouldn’t really count this as a challenge though, more as a detox.

Seth thinks I should get my motorcycle license. Great idea, but without having a motorbike or knowing anybody else with one, I don’t know how it could be feasible. Love the idea though!

Any other great ideas? Anybody?

 

30 Day Count Down

It has been 335 days since I took a ride in a personal motorized vehicle.

WHAT?!?!!!!

Yes, it’s true, and in another 30 days I will have hit the one year mark.

I’m sure there are a lot of other people out there who have gone for just as long or longer still, and I would love to hear their stories!

Here’s how my year has gone so far…..

December 13th, 2015; Four months pregnant, ran a couple errands with my dad’s truck before he headed north to Canada.

The rest of the winter was spent walking with the girls in the stroller, or riding my bike with them. Once spring hit, we did a lot more cycling, going farther and spending more time outside around the neighbourhood. We started clowning around a lot too, becoming a regular at one of Olive and Dingo’s weekly Story Times.

Off to get a whack of balloons.
Off to get a whack of balloons.

My dad flew through a couple times, but he has started taking transit from the airport. When my mom and little sister came up for end of my pregnancy to help out, us girls took the bus and train out to meet them. See? No cars needed.

Trista’s birth went perfectly well, and three weeks later we were back on the bike for short rides. Our first one was Peddalpalooza’s Monster Ride, which just happened to start three blocks from our house.

Through the summer I did have a hard time trying to get the girls out to have fun, but not overly exert myself, which is kind of hard to do when hauling 200 lbs of bike, kids and gear. But we did it!

Last month Seth took the Blondies (Marin and Elita) out to Maine to visit his relatives. During that time, I had multiple vehicle offers, both to borrow a spare, and hitch rides to far off places. But with only two months left to hit my one year goal, I painfully had to decline. Oh the places I could have gone with a vehicle in those two weeks!

Now there is only one month left.

For the most part these last 11 months have been easy. I started from a lifestyle that made it so. We do not own a vehicle, so there is never one easily at my disposal. For most people, a year car free would be a huge challenge. For some it would be logistically impossible. For me, I was already four months in before I decided to stretch it to a year. I guess with that said, it really isn’t that much of an accomplishment. Oh well, I’m still glad to be able to say I did it!

Now the question is, how shall I end the year? Shall it be with a car ride? Or just throw myself a little party and see how much longer life takes me without a vehicle?

Ideas? Suggestions? Comments? Anybody in a peanut gallery?

Exercising as a Mom

Pretty much all through my teen years I was slightly obsessed with staying fit. Truth is, I wanted 6-pack abs, but quickly came to the conclusion that unless I became a body builder, that just wasn’t going to happen. I think it all really started when I watched “Braveheart” and saw the scene where William Wallace is running along the mountain ridges of Scotland. Pretty much from then on I started running and worked up to about 26 km every week, split into two sprint days and one stamina. Along with that were some hiking and backpacking trips with my dad (he’s a wonderful fellow), which always spurred me on to keep working out. Then I discovered an Oya women’s kickboxing group just a couple minutes down the road and started going. I loved the full body workout that kickboxing gave me, along with skills in balance. My coach was pretty awesome too, pushing us all hard and encouraging us to do our best, but tailoring things slightly to accommodate each of our strengths and weaknesses. After that, I moved across the country (I was living in Canada) to help my aunt and uncle build their house. Even without doing any of the framing, I put on 10 lbs of muscle working around their property. Next came my attempt to thru hike the Appalachian Trail (2,176 miles) which I was only able to complete 600+, and then I bicycle toured with my now husband along the coast of California.

That all sounds like a great tradition in exercise and how could someone with that background ever stop working out?!

The answer is “mom-hood”.

My husband and I had a baby. Even though I tried to stay fit throughout the pregnancy, it was just too easy to relax and let everyone else do stuff. After Marin was born, Seth was a huge encouragement to get me outside for long walks, but the sore hips and pelvis were depressing, so I settled down to just going for shorter walks with the dog.

Now Marin is a 17 months, my hips are perfectly fine (unless I walk all the way downtown and back) and I have no excuse to not exercise. But Marin takes up a lot of time and it is nearly impossible to work out with her around as she climbs all over me. Running on these streets is hard with a stroller trying to maneuver all the curbs. Nap time is the only time of the day that I can really focus on projects that I want to get done, and don’t want to waste that precious time on working out. And… truth be told…. I don’t really want to work out. I’d much rather curl up on the couch and get lost in a good book with cup of chocolate ice-cream in hand. Besides, doesn’t housework count as working out?

Oh, what is a mother to do?!!!

I have not come up with the answer yet. a couple weeks ago I decided that I would take a rock climbing course at the local rock gym and start going early in the mornings before Marin wakes up and Seth has to go to work, but I still haven’t organised that yet. I think I’ll just have to force myself to go for a run in the mornings or evenings when Seth is around to watch the little one.

Today I got lucky as it is Seth’s day off and he took little Rinny down to OMSI for a couple hours, leaving me to do whatever I wanted. I knew I needed to get out and burn some steam, so it worked out great to allow me to take the dog for a run and do some extra workouts at home. Just as a side note, Lorax (the dog) was much slower than myself. I had to keep encouraging him to come along! Yay for me running faster than a pit-rhodesian cross!

I’m sorry, I’m sure you thought there was going to be a great grand and glorious answer to the mother’s exercise problem, but there isn’t. I’m in the same boat as everyone else, with just a wafting memory of the wonderful days of perpetual energy and a love to push my body.

 

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.

BIG CHEER!!!!

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

Enjoy!

 

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.