Lady of the Lake

My cover photo is a snowy and icy lake. During the Fall of 2014 I had to go to Redmond and stay a couple nights for a regional meeting for my job. I rented a car (we were a one car family at the time) and the rental company made a mistake and I got a huge 4WD Dodge Ram truck quad cab – it was a monster and I loved it. With that kind of rig I was able to take a detour along the way and stop at Suttle Lake, my favorite place in the world. 

Suttle Lake is our family camp spot – we spent a week every summer there swimming, catching fish, playing with the boat, eating and having fun. It was around 3rd or 4th grade when we started going to Suttle Lake, prior we had gone to Elk Lake but once we couldn’t get there because of forest fires. We turned back in Bend and started looking for camp sites but they were full. We were getting close to heading back home when dad and Mark found one at Suttle Lake. The elevation was a few thousand feet lower than Elk Lake (it sits at the base of Mt Bachelor, Suttle is right on Santiam Pass) and it didn’t take long for us to appreciate that there wasn’t ice on the boat in the mornings or that we didn’t have to use doubled up sleeping bags — you could easily get up and use the bathroom in the middle of the night. The fishing wasn’t as good — but that seemed to be a sacrifice we were willing to make. 

New tradition (ask my husband, my family is really into tradition)!!

Every summer it was me and my mom and dad, my aunt and uncle Joe and Kathy and my cousins JJ and Amy, Mark and Suzi and Grant and Lauren and whoever else wanted to join. Sometimes Randy and Joey came (he brought the twins once I remember) and I think Mike and Flo came once too. We’d swim or ride our bikes all day and take change to the little store and buy Laffy Taffy and ice cream bars. Even as me and my cousins and Grant and Lauren grew this camping trip never got old. We looked forward to it every summer and I know our parents did too. It was a week vacation in the woods and

We. Had. Fun. 

My first year in college ended with me being chosen to be editor of the college newspaper the next year. My mom was so excited and proud. She told everybody. That summer I worked for state parks and I couldn’t get the whole weekend off so I had to take my truck and follow her and dad over in their new (it was old but well taken care of) Winnebago they had bought that year. Usually we stayed at the south campground but they were full so we stayed up the south side – it was windy but still a good spot. We had our own beach and the spot was big enough for everyone to stay together. The W (that’s what we called it – it was a Winnebago and our last name is Whisler) was parked up on the road probably about 30 feet or so from the picnic table and our tents. 

One morning after a long night of drinking and having fun we were all up early. I was eating a cinnamon raisin bagel. Mom and dad had been up but they were up in the W. The rest of us were at the picnic table or by the fire. My dad yelled for my uncle and all of us froze. We looked up and dad was carrying mom out of the W and she looked weird. Joe and Mark ran up to him and Suzi and I looked for her cellphone in her glove box to call 911. The details get less here because I don’t know them. Dad yelled “get her out of here!” and Grant and I drive in my truck to the highway to meet the ambulance that came from Sisters about 20 miles away. Mom ended up being taken to Black Butte and she was life flighted to Bend where she died the next day from a brain aneurism. 

So, that’s why this picture is my cover picture. It’s where we spread mom’s ashes. It’s where so much of my life has been and will forever be. And we still go back and camp, every year, just like we always have. Me and my cousins take our kids now — lemme tell ya, the first summer that I took Jack (Charlie hadn’t been born yet) was pretty emotional for me at times. I usually have a moment or two each trip when I need to go for a walk my myself — I think almost all of us do — and that’s ok. It seems like we could all have one really good reason not to want to go back but it’s just the opposit. I love that place, it feels like home. 

Suttle Lake in the winter is a stranger to us – we aren’t snow people. But this trip in the Fall of 2015 it was just me, it was about 20 degrees and it was so quiet and frozen. So much of the fun in Suttle Lake is that it’s all of us — but this time it was just me and mom. 

Hi mom. Miss you. We’ll see you this summer. 

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Never Before Seen…


This is me. Hi. 

I’ve made no secret of my recent change in diet or how it has effected me – but I noticed that all of my pics are from the neck up. For the first time in forever (maybe even ever) I’m excited to take a picture of my entire body.

I’m proud of how hard it’s been but hat I’ve stuck with it. I’m proud that I have flubbed but gotten right back to it without feeling all is lost and that I failed. I am also proud of how good I feel and how much happier I am. There are no more excuses. 

I think that I look and feel great. Huzzah!

Why? What For?

I'm drinking hot coco merely days before Charlie was born.

Warm heavy mugs make me feel love.

There are quite a few reason I wanted to start this blog

  • I want and need to practice creative writing. I’ve found that in a lot of the jobs I’m applying for they require writing skills. My last job I wrote all the time, but it was always emails, prog notes in charts, or care plans. None of it was really creative or about things I needed to think about – it was all facts or directions and I just needed to make sure my grammar, spelling and punctuation were right. Technical writing is a strong skill – and so is a well written email (I was most thankful for employees and colleagues who could write a good email and skip a phone call).
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I was on my way to work and it was sunny but freezing.

  • I want to learn how to make a webpage/blog and how to better use social media. I admired a friend’s webpage — want to see her creative resume, professional resume or an “about” her page that tells about her interests, hobbies and friends family? It is a beautifully designed page and I am envious.A couple of jobs I’ve seen that I liked were public relations types — and all asked questions about experience with social media and branding. I should learn this stuff.
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Christmas day 2016 in the Methow Valley, WA visiting Stormy and Conor.

  • I like to tell stories and be funny. I like to share. I think I know myself pretty well and that’s a quality I’ve always appreciated in other people. It took me a lifetime so far but I can comfortably say that I know myself and that I know who I am. We are all products of our experiences – good and bad – and I am excited to write about some of mine.
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Sunkissed and fresh out of the salon with purple hair (it made me so happy)

  • I was asked to. Comments on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have asked for a blog. I’m not sure who my audience will be besides loving family and friends who will read it just to be nice – but maybe it’ll find other audience members out there too.
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Me and Justin, Depoe Bay early Spring 2016.

Barking Spiders are Everywhere. 

For the past 90 some days or so I have blasted Facebook and Instagram with my Whole 30 journey. To summarize, it starts with a 30 day challenge (and it is quite challenging) in which you eliminate dairy, grains, sugar and any and all processed meats and foods. It’s pretty much simple cuts of meat (preferably organic but it doesn’t have to be because that can get really expensive) and fruits and vegetables — and don’t eat too much fruit. 

I succeeded in the 30 day challenge – I didn’t cheat once and I was amazed when it was over what I truly was capable of if I wanted it bad enough — and my whole adult life I have struggled with finding a weight loss method that worked for me and I never did. But it wasn’t ever the method – for whatever reason and excuses – I never wanted to enough to stick through it when it got hard. I stuck with this one and I’ve even continued with the lifestyle since — because it would be really difficult to stick to the true Whole 30 for longer than 30 days. I’ve lost 31 lbs and the good things that eating right have done for my body and mind are too much to just throw away and go back to eatin crap. 

I never realized how hard the mental struggle is. Yesterday I reasoned and convinced myself that if I eat so well 99% of the time what is a “treat” now and then going to do. In the long run – not that much, really. The foods that I chose to “reward” myself with were a hotdog at the bingo hall, a Thai shrimp salad at Applebee’s (it had wonton chips and the dressing had sugar in it) and a sandwich at Taproot (whole grain bread, arugula, avocado, bacon, tomato and organic mayo) that came with half a plate of flash fried brussel sprouts. Aside from the hotdog the food was still mostly good and nutritious – but contained sugar, dairy and grains. I’m in pain this morning. I’m bloated, my tummy hurts and my farts could be in a scene from Joe Dirt. 

People tell me all the time lately that I’m inspiring and they are proud of me — that support is fantastic and I love that so many are following me and supporting me because this isn’t easy. It’s getting easier — I’m always learning, and mostly it’s a lesson in being prepared. If I’m committing to eating a way that is so opposit of the way that is so readily available and blasted at us through advertising and media (i.e. Low-fat and/or sugar free foods aren’t all that good for you) then you need to plan for being away from your kitchen. 

I’ve inspired others to try this lifestyle too and it makes me happy they will benefit — but I’m human and the struggle is real. I let my brain win yesterday and not my body (and everyone around me) is feeling it. So I’m going to lay in bed for just a little bit longer and feel sorry for myself about it and then in about 10 minutes I’ll get up and tackle the day with a fresh start. 

Sorry that I’m a little cranky – I don’t feel good and it will take awhile to pass – and I’m really sorry about the farts (pun totally intended). 

Bingo, Baby!

Today I checked something  off my list — remember that post from a few days ago? I went with a good friend and we played bingo at B&G Bingo. B&G Bingo supports the Boys and Girls Club, so it was money well spent.

The employees look bored – and their job looks miserable. My friend told me that when her daughter was young she got busted for underage drinking and had to do community service that she worked off at the Boys and Girls Club — so she always thinks the employees are doing community service.

Bingo is complicated – I was seriously stressed out at times. You don’t just get a line and win, it is much more complicated than that. There are many different patterns to pay attention to and I wondered sometimes if I knew what I was doing. My friend goes often so she is a pro, and my trying to play at her level was probably a mistake.

When you get there you have to go to the buy in counter and wait in a long line behind a lot of old people. There were a lot of walkers. It takes forever and when I got to the front I said, “I’ll just get what she got.” I tried not to look too surprised when they handed me a stack of multi-colored blank bingo cards.

There were men there, and most of them were single – my guess is they were widowers looking for their next B-I-N-G-O.

My friend doubled her money. I did not. It was a fun way to spend 3 hours but my butt started to fall asleep towards the end. I was glad when it was over but glad I did it — Its fun spending time with Kay no matter what we do.

Adopted. 

Cathy and Me Fall 2015I spent a lot of time texting with a friend tonight about adoption. She adopted 2 daughters and then gave birth to her 3rd (she had no idea she was pregnant until she went to the doctor for weird symptoms and they broke the news to her… Just imagine that for a minute).

Her adopted daughter is struggling with being able to articulate her feelings around her birth parents and she asked me if I would share my thoughts about my birth mother and father and maybe help a little.

I gladly shared. I’ve always known I was adopted. It was never a secret and everyone around me knew and never had a problem with it. Once I remember my older cousins trying to mess with me and tell me that one of my aunts was my real mom — yeah. Although I idolized them at the time I quickly realized as I got older that they were jerks – for that reason and many others. I have not had a relationship with them in decades.

Anyways – I’m always eager to hear other people’s adoption stories and share my thoughts. I don’t feel like I have a story — I was adopted when I was 6 weeks old. After I was born I loved I foster care until my mom and dad got the call there was a baby. I have a few cards from my foster brothers and sisters wishing me well and my name was Nancy (thank you Mom and Dad for choosing Melani). Then I was Mom and Dad’s. I’ve never wondered about the issues surrounding my being given up or why — I don’t care to seek out any of my biological parents.

I’m kinda curious if I have siblings – not enough to try and find them – because I was always jealous of people with siblings. I had a great childhood but I spent a lot of times with books and music — not a bad thing really but I didn’t have someone my age around a lot. I’m not curious enough to look for them though. Even if I found them I wouldn’t automatically have that experience or bond that a lifetime together gives people. It would be weird.

In my life I have gone back and forth between wanting to know and just not caring. I end up on not caring. My mom always offered to help me find my birth mom – but after she died my dad said that if I’d ever taken her up on the offer would’ve crushed her. She died when I was 19. I have a mom. She was a beautiful woman and a talented artist, and I always remember her singing.

Band Teasers vs Brain Teasers

During a long nap drive with the kiddos on Saturday Justin asked me, “If you could only listen to one band for the rest of your life would you pick Steve Miller Band or Stevie Ray Vaughan?” This kept us busy ALL weekend thinking up names of bands that were similar but oh so different — check this out:
The Cranberries vs Tonic

The Beastie Boys vs The Beach Boys

Eagles vs Flock of Seagulls

Cars vs The Doors

Pointer Sisters vs Scissor Sisters

Katy Perry vs Stephen Perry

ACDC vs ABBA

Prince vs Queen

The Strokes vs The Kinks

Neil Diamond vs Gem and The Hollograms (This was mine, and Justin said I won the game with it)

Kenny G vs Warren G

Public Enemy vs ThePolice

Aerosmith vs Air Supply

Corey Hart vs Stevie Wonder (Hint: what song is Corey Hart famous for?)

Pink vs Blondie

Kris Kristofferson vs Kris Kross (one of my favs)

Guns N Roses vs The Wallflowers

Poison vs Ratt

Megadeth vs Band Aid

50 cent vs Johnny Cash

Nickelback vs Quarterflash

Nicki Minaj vs Stevie Nicks

CCR vs GNR

 

If you can think of more leave a comment!