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?

International Travel

Not quite one year ago Marin crossed from Canada into the United States. Now, she is back on her way up into Canada, but only for a couple hours. This is the first time that Seth has crossed any borders with her, and he bravely is doing it alone, as my immigration green card has not come in the mail yet. Yet another family adventure! So here I am in Blaine, sipping a spicy mocha, gazing out over the marina to the ocean beyond, letting the gentle ocean breaze play with my hair and bring the salty smell of kelp and sea water to my ocean-starved nose. Oh how I have missed the ocean!

Having grown up on the west coast of Canada, right by the water on Vancouver Island, living in Portland, Oregon slowly saps the wild freedom from me. Don’t get me wrong, Portland is absolutely amazing and SO bicycle friendly, but it does not have the wide and wild ocean views that stretch for as far as the curve of the earth where you can see a ship’s sails above the curve but the hull is hidden below. The wind and sunshine both invigorating and draining, going through extremes and teaching you to be eternally grateful for the pleasant weather days. Oh the wild coast of Canada and the state of Washington!

So here I am soaking up everything about the view while Seth drives north with our daughter into my country to pick up my dad and brother. Hopefully my uncle and grandmother will be there to see Marin. She has changed so much in one year! When we left, she was barely 2 months old, struggling to hold her own head up. Now she is walking all by herself, cautious yet adventurous, silly and sweet but sometimes demanding. As a mom, I get so much pleasure in watching her personality develop each day.

It has been a long drive up here, but Marin has handled it very well. She plays quietly with her toys, crying only when she needs a fresh diaper or when she is tired, both of which I can completely understand. I would cry too! But the longest length of tears was only 5 minutes. What a wonderful girl to travel with!

Assuming all things go well, we will have a perfectly fine drive back down to Oregon, and nothing interesting will happen.

Well, I’m not going to miss this wonderful opportunity! I’m off to go stick my toes in the sticky water of the sound. Maybe my skin will itch later from the salt. Yay!!!

Crazy And We Love It

Last night I had another one of those “my family is awesome” moments. 

Marin and I had cycled across the river to meet Seth as he got out of work and then we were going to check out the concert by the Weezers that Microsoft was putting on. 

The trip started with a delay by the princess, so Marin and I were a little tight pressed for time to stick to our prearranged schedule with Seth. That meant that I couldn’t take my time riding downtown, I had to push it. Do you know what it’s like to ride a slow, loaded three wheel cargo bike from 39th to Pioneer Square in 30 minutes? Your legs get a wicked burn just going up little inclines like the ramp from the esplanade up to Hawthorn bridge, and did you ever notice that most of the bridge itself is an uphill ride? 

I forget which road we turned up from the river side (maybe Taylor?), but the first light you hit is always a red. Once you get the green on that though, if you can keep your speed up it is a straight shot with constant green all the way up the hill to the square. I love that shot. It is a small adrenaline rush for me, surrounded by traffic, pushing the muscles hard to stay with the flow and not miss a light.

Breathing gets fast and heavy, calves yell with the effort and that’s when Seth called on my cell! Fortunately I keep my phone in a little pocket on the bike just below te handlebars, so I could access it without breaking rhythm. 

“Hey, I’m out of work.” Seth told me.

“Great! Sorry I’m late, but I’m almost there. On 5th and coming your way.” 

I think it was easy for him to figure out from my heavy breathing that the conversation had to end right about there, as I was too busy to focus on chatting about anything else, so he said bye and went out to the street corner to wait for me.

Huffing, puffing, smiling big and giggling, I found my man and we took some time to let me catch my breath before grabbing a bite to eat at Freshii and exploring around the concert area for a while then we both at the same time called it quits and said we were uninterested in the music they were playing. 

Somehow we almost always seem to be on the same page with stuff. We like similar styles of food, with each of us coming down to the same two dishes we want to try at restaurants, so we just get both and share them! Or like last night, we were both curious about the concert, but both lost interest at the same time. Then on the ride home we stopped to admire some live-aboard sailboats and we both liked the same one. Sometimes I think we must be a crazy couple, but then, it’s probably better to be crazy and love it, then sane and hate it!

Swings!

Having fun swinging in the breeze while watching all the other little kids
Having fun swinging in the breeze while watching all the other little kids

Piccolo Park is an easy walk from the house and attracts all the youngsters in the neighbourhood on sunny days. I thought Marin might enjoy watching them, so we sauntered down with the dog and found an empty bucket swing to put the little girl in. She sang and chattered, as happy as could be, watching mesmerized as older children ran around and climbed all over the playground.

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No Cares On A Sunday

Another day spent outside with my little girl. Nothing too important to do. People watching, slow peddaling.

This morning while taking down the tent in the wind, the fly got a small puncture and a couple good scrapes in it. Wasn’t the best way to start the morning, that is for sure! It is lightweight silnylon made by Nemo. Beautiful tent and well structured! But that silnylon along with being ultra light for camping, is also surprisingly easy to tear and not so easy to fix.

While Seth headed off to work for the day, I did an internet search on how to fix silnylon. You can’t just sew on a patch and throw some goop on to waterproof it and call it good. One of the beauties of the fabric is that almost nothing ever sticks to it……….including adhesives. So my searching was also one to find where I might pick up a patch kit. Easiest place was REI, so off we went. Well, sort of.

There were delays getting to the sports store, as Andrew volunteered to make lunch and I was not about to say no to that! And then there was the issue of it being a highly breezy day and me only having one pair of shorts (whose reach just covers my knees) so Marin and I stopped at Goodwill to find a cooler pair of shorts for me. Okay, so I didn’t really find shorts, but a nice running skirt with built in boyshorts seemed to do the trick for keeping me cool the rest of the day.

Finaly we made it to REI and Marin started telling me she was hungry, so I found a quiet little corner amongst the sleeping bags (like anybody is gonna go shopping for a bag on a sweltering hot day like today!) where I could nurse her without any distractions. It worked so well though, that she fell asleep and refused to wake up! So I carried her all sprawled out in one arm while searching out the repair kit and I had to ask the cashier lady to bear with me as I had to do everything one handed. In fact, Marin was so sleepy that only opened her eyes for one second, not even two, when I put her back in her carseat on the bike. Zonked OUT!

When Marin woke up from her nap we watched all the little kids playing in the water fountain down by the river. I did some drawing while she watched the kids and played with her little maraca, becoming the center of attention for a couple other little tots who thought she was awefully cute (as always!).

One of the fun things about these longer nice days, is that Marin and I can meet Seth downtown when he gets off the train from work, and we can cycle home together, often stopping somewhere for a bite to eat first.

I love seeing Seth at the end of his work days! We have such fun together and it doesn’t take big activities to keep us entertained! Small little things like walk, bike rides or simply watching other people go by, is enough to keep us amused and happy.

All and all, I think it was a fantabulous Sunday! Yay!!!!

 

The Day Is Not Over Yet

With my birthday almost here, Seth and I splurged and bought tickets for some acrobatic airial arts show later tonight. But the timing is just right that Seth had to ask for the day off of work. So, with a Saturday free to do anything, we started the adventure last night by setting up our 3-man tent and each of us sleeping in our own sleeping bags, caressed by a gentle breeze taking the heat off the day.

Yes, Marin at 8 months old has her own sleeping bag. One of those length adjustable ones from Mountain Hardwear. She slept quite well in it, which does not necessaraly mean that Seth or I got as good a sleep. I’m sure you parents can understand! But it was fun anyway and I think we will do it again tonight.

Marin in her own sleeping bag
Marin in her own sleeping bag

So that all was last night’s adventure, but what about today? Seeing as it was the first Saturday that Seth has had off since working for Columbia Sportswear, he wanted to head across the river to the Saturday Market to check out what’s new there. Today’s means of transportation was walking with a stroller. It’s not as fast as cycling, but we get to talk and catch up on inventive ideas that we just don’t get the chance to share with each other during the week or out weaving through traffic on our own sets of wheels.

The market was busy as always on such a bright beautiful day. We locked up the stroller and carried Marin through the crowds, gazing at all the interesting creations that are on display. Brunch was had at Horn of Africa. Same thing as we always get there, six samosas, two of each kind. Yum.

Marin having her first drink out of a water fountain. She did well!
Marin having her first drink out of a water fountain. She did well!

After wandering around the tents, it didn’t take us long to find a spot where Marin could watch all the other little people running through the water fountain. She still is unsure about getting involved in the activity of getting wet by splashing water, but she loves watching everyone else.

Standing in water while watching kids play
Standing in water while watching kids play

After Marin started to tire of watching the kids, we sat down where there was less chaos and more flow to the crowd of people. Sitting and watching people must be one of our favorite things to do. So much variety! There was the older couple walking their bicycles through the crowd together with matching handlebar baskets and matching floofy dogs in the baskets. A fellow who looks like he spends all his time working out and watching too many survival videos on youtube, with a buck-knife on his belt walking a male dog that looked ready  to sire a mean looking litter of pups. A lady who looked uncomfortable in her much too short dress, having to discreetly pull it down an inch or two every ten steps. A fellow getting busted for smoking pot? Two dogs that looked like balls of fluff walking on the ends of leashes. A guy with metal spikes and leather arm cuffs, white boots with spurs and tatoos covering his arms while slowly peddaling around looking for customers to take for a ride on his tour trike. The best one by far was the guy in a Utili-Kilt, riding a unicycle, wearing a Darth Vadar helmet and playing a bag-pipe.

That was our day so far! Now we get to gear up and go to our show. Yippy!

Garden Baby

The weather has been absolutely beautiful here for the last couple days. While everyone else is stuck inside doing work or school, Marin and I have been spending the larger part of our days outside in the sunshine. She is getting a nice little farmer’s tan and a healthy dose of fresh greens and dirt suplemented into her diet.

My eddible peas out front are getting a daily pruning from my little girl as her Johnny-Jump-Up is set on the path right in front of the peas. She loves it out there! She can spin and watch wherever I go as I work in the garden, then go back to picking leaves off my peas. I’ve had to tie them back for fear there wouldn’t be anything left if I didn’t.

ImageYesterday she was perfectly clean, but I thought having a nice little bath outside would be nice for her. Baths are supposed to make you clean, right? It did the opposite for her! By the time I was finnished in the garden and she was finnished splashing around, she was pretty much covered from head to toe in mud! But she was a happy baby. ImageDirty Grin

My Cycling Father

Dad trying out the fat tire and watching how it worked beneath him.
Dad trying out the fat tire and watching how it worked beneath him.

While my dad was here I found out that he enjoys riding bicycles. We always lived a little outside of town (sometimes right out in the country!) and so cycling had no interest as you were always stuck on the same road. Portland is different though. There’s bike lanes and so many alternate routes that it is impossible to get bored especially when you’re only in town for one week!

Seth picked up a Pugsley Fat Tire by Surly last year, but my dad didn’t get to see it last time he was through. This time though, he spotted it and his eyes lit up right away.

“Who’s is that?” he asked with excitement in his voice.

When I told him it was Seth’s, he asked if he might be able to take it for a spin. Of course!!! So he tried it out on the street just in front of the house, and since we were heading out on a ride and I was taking the trike (which is slow), he opted for the fat tire ride. It was great to see him on it. He loved it!

Most our rides this last week has been with him on the Surly. It is slow, but still a heck of a lot faster than our trike which Marin rides in.

Grandpa cycling around proud as punch with his little granddaughter sleeping content on front.
Grandpa cycling around proud as punch with his little granddaughter sleeping content on front.

When I would suggest walking anywhere after the first couple of rides, his face would drop just a tad, then he would mention the option of riding to our destination instead. So we rode almost every day that he was here, including the last day when he had to pick up a few things for the kids’ school.

For that last ride, Seth stayed home with Marin while I rode Chester and my dad rode one of Andrew’s bikes downtown. We rode fast because we could.

First stop was Voodoo Doughnuts where we picked up a full dozen doughnuts and of course ate a couple of them right away. Had to get some energy to make the last few blocks to REI where Dad picked up some gear for the kids’ GoPro camera.

Heading home I got us a little off track, but didn’t exactly get LOST. Just didn’t know where we were going per say. Didn’t take too long and we were back on a familiar route, then we hit a section of heavy traffic being directed by cops, so we got on another detour, ducking and weaving between traffic. As we spun onto Clinton Street, Dad figured out where we were and took off like a rocket! Those doughnuts must have really given him a boost, because it was all I could do to keep up with him!

Marin And Her Grandpa

The first day my dad was here, Marin wasn’t sure what to do with him. But he paid attention to her, played with her and ignored her until she grew comfortable with him. Two days after his arrival she gave him a smile first thing in the morning. Having won her affections, my dad plays, cuddles and carries her around almost all day long now!

She likes her grandpa and that is wonderful to see.

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Late Night Transit and Timbers Game

Letting Marin go for a couple of hours is a really hard thing for me to do. Yeah, yeah it’s something I need to get used to and blah blah blah…..

Just the other night I was busy nursing Marin when Andrew came downstairs and asked if I might be interested in going to a Timber’s game that night. He had two tickets, didn’t want to go himself, but Leah really really wanted to go, so I thought about it a minute. Thought, “Heck, how often will a chance like this come up where I can go to a soccer game?” 

Andrew was offering to look after Marin for the evening, and I know that she is good with him, so in a burst of adrenaline and adventure I agreed to go to the game with Leah!

I had no idea how we were getting there and back, but a quick internet search showed an easy route that I hoped would make sense when scrawled across a scrap of paper.

Marin was a doll and didn’t fuss too much as I ran around, trying to understand maps, get myself ready, find all of the baby stuff that I thought Andrew might need, and get Marin fed and changed before heading out. She just rode on my hip for most of my running around and watched as I threw stuff together. What a girl!

Having seen her settled and content in Andrew’s arms, Leah and I ran out the door, heading for a night of noise, bright lights and loud noise!

There were people everywhere! The stadium was crowded. The game was on.

For all you big soccer fans out there, you gotta realize that I have never been to a big game before, or even a small “community kids” game.

At first I was taken aback by all the spectators. There must have been thousands and thousands!!! All talking, chatting, yelling, chanting. So much green! So many smiles!

I looked down on the field where the game had already started and thought; people are paying to see a small white speck get bounced and chased around a grass field by men that look the size of ants, who seem to get a thrill out of bashing their heads simultaneously against a fast-moving ball and the heads of other players. Why is this a sport?

Then I got into it. I couldn’t help myself! I kept pushing thoughts of worry over my baby out of my head (mom’s can sympathize!) and just sat back and soaked up the excitement and thrill of being surrounded by thousands of people brought together for one thing. And that one thing started to get to me too! I found myself cheering wholeheartedly whenever the Timbers stole the ball from the Quakes, then stood up and gave it my all when the Timbers scored in the 78th minute.

Wow! What happened to me?

At the end of the game I steered Leah out through the tightly packed crowd and made it out onto the street. That’s when I realized that my written directions were gonna be no good, cause there weren’t any bus about to come along this road, what with all those soccer fans milling around!

On a hunch, I led us around a corner and thankfully found what I was looking for. The train heading into the city center. I don’t know this city very well, and had never ridden the public transit here before except for one stretch of the train to get out to the zoo earlier this year. Yeah I’ll admit I was a little nervous, trying to get myself and my niece back home on the other side of the river, late at night, on a system I was unfamiliar with. But we made it!

Home safe and sound.

Yeah!!!

I can’t wait till Andrew gets more Timbers tickets that he doesn’t want to use himself!