Adventure Mom

Ekphrastic Mama meets Mama Matanuska

Like a huge bird our airplane touches down on the tarmac and soon makes a turn–we are here in Cordova, Alaska, turning away from the mountains and rivers so immense it tries the mind, taking in this northern tundra from above–what specks we are, yearning for meaning, traveling at high speeds, and covering so much ground in a day that we may never catch up with ourselves. Next stop Yakutat; just for fun, the milk-run flight. Grounded for 45 minutes my mind turns back to home where a small urn sits on a shelf with all that is left to me of my mother, but once was arms and legs leading to toes turned into appendages from tadpole-like little pieces inside her mother, my grandmother. As we take to the air again, the image takes shape like a plane ride, the kind that turns upside down and right-side-up again just…

A New Thought for Today

I have lots of old thoughts that circulate regularly so when a new thought flits by I notice it and see if it’s one I want to keep. Today’s thought, early on this Sunday morning Mother’s Day, was about privilege, a hot topic and one I’ve been entertaining in new ways. This new thought took me by surprise, as new thoughts often do, being new. It was a privilege to be my mother’s daughter. Many of you might think these kinds of thoughts quite often; I confess that I haven’t had a lot of thoughts like this, but the thought seemed beautiful to me. I decided it could stay, that I would like to think this way more. It is a thought that serves me well. After it came another I liked equally well, maybe even better: It’s a privilege to be a mother of my three daughters (three sons…

Walking Away

Small plane goes off runway and crashes in San Diego County; pilot walks away. https://www.newsbreak.com/california/fallbrook/news/2101199393210/small-plane-goes-off-runway-and-crashes-in-san-diego-county-pilot-is-able-to-walk-away?s=oldSite&ss=a3 My friend sends me this snippet on e-mail, a thin connection to our past lives from ten years ago when I lived in the village near the runway where the small plane went off and a man walked away. Later, this morning when I am out running—a carpe diem act done during a break in the frequent PNW rain—that runway unfurls itself in front of me, my steps paved by that snippet. A first kiss from my then future hub happened at that airpark where the runway runs short. I hoped to never marry, but I couldn’t pass up someone who kisses like that, beneath low flying planes. Years later, my hub’s father learned to fly, his long-time late-in-life dream launched off the end of that too short runway. At different times, we all went…

Retreat: Girl in a book on a bike at the beach

The Trees-to-Sea highway over to the Oregon coast was a dream of a drive for a writing retreat, crisscrossing streams until it delivered me to Oceanside, Oregon, my mountain bike on the back of my car, my trusty tent inside. Rooms on the coast are expensive, but camping is a boon. South of Oceanside is Cape Lookout State Park where I pitched my tent in the trees just beyond the sand dunes. At night, I listened to the ocean purr, cozy and content like a kid on an adventure, sunny and glorious for three whole days. In between writing spurts, I rode my mountain bike down the Netarts Spit, the only bike in the sand. My tires are wide but not super fat, so sometimes they bog down. I turn to sand that is either wetter or drier and pedal harder. Riding and writing have a lot in common. Sometimes…

My Second Swarm

My friend, Stephanie, just texted me- another swarm! This time it’s in the bait hive I put near her house, up in a tree. Stephanie is the same friend who called me last time, where we got our first swarm : https://lorilyngreenstone.com/first-bee-swarm/. This time, there is no one around to help… Can I go collect this swarm alone? activity in the bee bait hive! I decide I can. I put on my bee suit, leftover from our days in Bend, OR, when Lily, our then teen was into beekeeeping (busy “adulting” now in nearby Portland, but still a bee enthusiast). The swarm, if it is one, is in my “bait hive.” I made the bait hive at Bee Club in April, then hung it in my backyard/forest, but never got any action until I took it over to Stephanie’s. She owns http://oneearthbotanical.com/, a nursery with some bee hives. We met…

First Bee Swarm

Today we collected a swarm of bees, our little family of three. A friend said bees swarmed up into a tree on her property, maybe 25′ up. Did we want to come get them? We have never collected a swarm of bees, but Arielle and I have been going to Preservation Beekeeping Council meetings here in Camas, learning natural ways we can help the bees. https://preservationbeekeeping.com/ When we lived in Bend, Lily got bees from Glory Bee in Eugene, so we have a bit of bee-ing experience, but mostly a lot of studying or doing the wrong things (our Bend bees froze in winter- see Mothering Bees post on how to convert those hives to insulated, happy ones). https://lorilyngreenstone.com/mothering-bees-quilt-boxes-convert-langstroth-hives/ How to keep your bees from freezing in winter, or boiling in summer… We got our hives ready back in April- one double Langstroth conversion and one hollowed out log hive…

The Baby I had at 47 1/2

My youngest daughter is 12 today. I am 59 1/2 exactly. I know this because today is May 1, exactly 6 months until my next birthday, November 1, when I will turn 60. It still does not fail to amaze me that I have a 12 year-old, but especially this 12 year-old, this child I was sure I didn’t want. At the time I found out I was pregnant I was applying to grad school, literally filling out applications in the physician’s office, just getting a yearly check-up, but feeling a bit tired. We already had five kids. The oldest daughter was 25, trying to get pregnant. The oldest son was in college. One son was high school age, and another junior high. Our youngest daughter, a surprise when I was almost 40, was a third grader. It was finally my time to go back and get the graduate degree…

Mothering Bees- quilt boxes convert traditional hives

Our bees housed in Langstroth hives died in winter when we lived in Central Oregon where it gets cold and snowy. But now we live in the Columbia Gorge near Portland and I’m making quilt boxes for bees- me who does not quilt–luckily, no quilting involved. Converting Langstroth boxes to bee-cozy habitats We live in Camas, Washington- soon to be designated a “Bee City, USA”, the 3rd in the state, after Seattle and Puyallup. What a great place we’ve dropped into- https://www.beecityusa.org/current-bee-cities.html But bee survival is still challenged here by wet weather and other factors. Our interest in bees was piqued by our middle daughter a few years ago when she asked for bees for her 16th birthday. We attended Glory Bee’s beekeeping weekend event in Eugene. $1000 later we returned with bee boxes, bee suits, 16,000 bees, and a myriad of beekeeping paraphernalia. It turns out most of this…

Good-bye REI

It just so happens I gave my notice at REI this week, just ahead of Jerry Stritzke handing in his letter of resignation over a “consensual relationship” with the head of some other outdoor company. I didn’t play a big role in REI- I was an Action Sports Specialist in the Bend, OR store for 5 years, and then again in Portland for the last two years, mostly part-time. Before the ride with CEO Jerry Stritzke and other REI high-ups- no helmet head yet. Even so, I got to know Jerry just a bit. He came down to Bend to mountain bike, and my manager asked if I could help lead the ride, the token female. Almost everyone went down on that ride, and when Jerry hit the dirt I was off my bike fast, grabbing my phone, just for the fun of getting a pic of our CEO eating…

Whose Pants Are Those?  

My friend thinks I wear the ‘pants’ in my family, but she says it’s okay since the man of the family is not angry about it. The bigger question, or the underlying issue: Who’s in Charge? So many issues come down to that, the underpants. So I’m thinking about these pants and how they fit– what kind of ‘pants’ are they anyway?  Are they Spanx, an undergarment so elastic they suck you neatly in, but then slap you silly when you peel them off, gasping for breath?  Or are they more like sweats– loose and accommodating, good for a Saturday stroll or Sunday lounging?  Or are they work pants– chino style, somewhat serious, yet unassuming, in traditional khaki-tan so they don’t show spills? Personally, my style is more of a pedal pusher– you can dress them up or down, great in the garden or the classroom, very versatile.  I like…

Navigate