Sunday, May 26, 2013

Backyard Bunny

I was walking past my back door tonight and I noticed there was a tiny little bunny eating the clover out of my grass!

So of course I got all excited and took a few pictures. This little bunny was so tiny and cute. It was like Jack Rabbit knew I was in need a little bunny fix.

Look at how tiny he is! Just in case you can't figure out where this tiny little bunny is hiding, I circled him for you!

So tiny! I stayed nice and quiet, watching him eat from my kitchen table. It was a pretty fun end to my day.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Book Review: May The Road Rise Up to Meet You

Image from Bing Image Search
I just finished reading Peter Troy's May the Road Rise Up to Meet You for my office book club. I read the entire 386 pages in four days, I just couldn't put the book down. This is the fictional story of four very different people, from very different backgrounds and how their lives become intertwined.  Ethan takes us on a journey from the Irish Famine to the battle fields of the Civil War. Marcella, a young society girl from Spain, discovers her true calling and discovers what she is willing to sacrifice to follow her heart. Mary and Micah are slaves in the deep south, who risk everything for the freedom they so desire.

I love it when a book just pulls you in and makes you feel as though you can hear the characters talking to you. The dialect and distinctive voice of each character, made me feel as though I was there, listening to the conversations, rather than reading static words on a page. At first I wanted to read Ethan's story and was a bit disappointment when the author switched to another character. But it didn't long for to me enjoy all the characters, for their own role in the story as well as how eventually they all became intertwined.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone.  I am so glad that it was suggested for book club. 

Looking Back

Day 21: A list of links to your favorite posts in your archives.

These are a few of the posts that I have enjoyed revisiting as I searched through my archives for this Blog Every Day In May post.

Our Trip to Costa Rica - This was such a great trip that Joel and I talk about going back.

My Ode to Jack - This collection of photos is a good reminder of what a fun little bunny Jack was.

Ducks at the Bus - This funny duck couple keeps coming back to the bus stop. This was the first time I noticed them.

Our Epic Adventure - What started out as a leisurely bike ride, turn into an adventure. Very typical for Joel and I.

Mark and Amy's Wedding - Not only did two close friends marry each other, but I was honored to officiate.

Roosevelt Shenanigans - This annual trip is one I hope we never stop taking.

I hope you enjoyed my trip down memory lane. What are some of your favorite posts from The Odell Yodel?

Monday, May 20, 2013

Let's Get Real, Shall We?

Day 20: Get Real. Share something you are struggling with right now.

Well, literally, right now I am struggling with the Blog Every Day in May challenge. As you can see, I am missing dates, posts are coming late, and who knows when I will be able to catch up. I'm going to get really "real" with you and break it down.
  1. It takes me forever to add pictures. I ran out of the free memory space, so to add pictures, first I download them from either my camera or my cell phone. Then I edit the pictures and reduce the file size in Lightroom. Next, I upload them to Picasa Web. From here I can import the pictures into my blog post. Goodness it takes forever. You would be shocked to see how many drafts I have with text. The only reason why they are not published is because they still need pictures...
  2. Carving out the time to write. I am pulled in many different directions and it can be hard for me to find the time to sit down and get a couple posts completed. There are so many things I want to do in a day and sometimes blogging is pushed to the bottom of the list. And to be honest, my desk is Joel's old desk from college. It is uncomfortable for me to sit at for long periods of times. When I am uncomfortable, I loose interest in things very quickly. But a new office is on my wish list for this year's home improvement projects.
  3. Writer's block. Even with prompts, I am having a serious case of writer's block. I think most of it stems from a project I am working on at the office, which has me seriously stumped. Sometimes it just takes me a bit longer than average figure out how I want to express what I am trying to say.
I'm totally stumped. No idea what I want to say.
So there you have it. That is my struggle, right now. So I am going to take my own advice, I'm going to be kind to myself, and I'm going to forgive myself for my poor showing in the challenge. Eventually I will get it all posted, but not tonight. Tomorrow is another day.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Happy Birthday Chris!

Today we helped celebrate Chris' birthday!

Jackie surprised Chris with a flight lesson first thing in the morning. It took months of planning and secret emails and text messages, but she totally surprised him. We meet up with them at Pomegranate Bistro in Redmond to hear about this flight lessons over brunch.

Chris not only got to fly the plane, but he got to taxi down the runway, take off, and make turns up in the air. Jackie even got to ride in the back of the plane while he fly them from West Seattle, to Salish waterfalls, and back around again. It was pretty exciting to hear all about it!

Happy Birthday Chris!
The food at Pomegranate Bistro was great! Featuring classic comfort foods, the menu was so appetizing. I finally decided on the Pom Benedict and Joel went with the French Toast.
Pom Benedict on toasted scallion cheddar biscuits, poached eggs, and house hollandaise with ham,
with a side of the Old Guilford Mill Stone Ground Grits.
House waffles (it was the special so I don't have a fancy description),
with a side of the rosemary hash brown potatoes.
The layout of the restaurant was pretty interesting. There were large glass windows that you watch the kitchen staff as they worked. It was entertaining to try to guess what they were doing while waiting for our food to arrive. I would definitely recommend stopping by if you are ever in the neighborhood!

After brunch, we headed back the Odell house to hang out for the rest of the afternoon. We played some killer bunnies and enjoyed each other's company. It is always a good time when Chris is around!

Happy Birthday, Chris!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Favorite Pictures

Day 17: A favorite photo of yourself and why.

We decided to pick a favorite photo of each other. It was hard to pick a favorite, there are so many good ones!

This photo is one of my favorite photos of Joel. It was taken in October of 2013 shortly after arriving in Costa Rica. We were waiting for luggage to arrive and we took a quick picture. I was exhausted from the long flight, but Joel just looks so happy. We had a great trip and I love this photo, taken at the beginning of the journey, filled with excitement and anticipation for the adventures we were about to share.

This photo is one of Joel's favorite photos of me. When asked why, he simply replied with, "Well, it was the day you said yes."
Just minutes after his proposal, I was still teary eyed for the picture.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

My Struggle

Day 16: Something difficult about your "lot in life" and how you're working to overcome it.

I have struggled with manic depression since I was a young kid. It was really hard to know you were different from the other kids. I struggled to appear to be a normal kid, but it all got to be too much for me to deal with on my own. I started to see a therapist in middle school and it really helped. I continued to see this person throughout college.

I have been on nearly medication on the market for depression. Some helped and some did not. It took the work of my psychologist and a psychiatrist to find the right mixture of medication and therapy. I have been taking pills since middle school and it has always been a dream of mine to get off the medication.

I am happy to say that after a year and half of slowly reducing my dosage and watching my moods, as of February 2013 I am now 100% off any and all medications. Seriously, the medications I were taking so powerful and I was taking such a high dose that I had to slowly come off them to avoid withdrawals. Here is a list of the withdrawals (I have experienced all of them...)
  • Dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Nausea (was terrible for me, one time I had to ask the bus driver to let me off in between stops so I could throw up in the bushes on the side of the road at 7:30 in the morning. Not Fun.)
  • Insomnia
  • Nightmares
  • Vertigo
  • "Brain Shivers" (like my brain was hiccuping)
  • "Sleepy Brain" (like my brain was delayed or asleep)
I still struggle from time to time with depression. Some days I will just in be a gray funk that I can't come out of. But I am getting better at communicating this with Joel, so he knows that I'm not angry with him, that I'm just having a gray day. I am careful about what I eat; lots of junk food can make me feel lethargic and bring on depression. I am careful to stay active and get outdoors. Doing so helps increase natural production of serotonin, which keeps me feeling normal. I am careful not to overwhelm myself when stress levels are high. I am figuring out what are my triggers are and how to prevent them from interrupting life.

Manic depression is something I will live with for the rest of my life. This is my lot in life, and this is how I am working to overcome it.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A Day in the Life of Jess

Day 15: A Day in the Life

Time to wake up. I let myself sleep in a bit this morning.
After a quick shower. I try to pick out something to wear.
This can take forever.

Up next is taming the hair and putting on make-up.
trying to look put together for at least a part of my day.

Say goodbye to a still sound asleep Joel.
Can you believe it is this light out at 6:45 am?
 Pack up my lunch and my snacks for the day.

Eat a good breakfast.
Wait for the peahen to finish crossing the street
as I leave my house on the way to work.
Drive down to the Kenmore Park & Ride where I catch the bus to work.
Walk the two blocks to the office.
Not a bad place to call work, huh?
Drink lots of coffee.
It isn't long before I am ready for a snack.
Today it is cottage cheese and mandarin oranges.
Work, work, work.
Lunch time. Today's menu has chicken, rice and sweet potatoes.
I'm trying to get ready for summer.
Good thing I have a good book to distract me from my less-than appetizing lunch.

A package arrives. Due to thefts in our neighborhood Joel and I ship everything to my office, so it is always a surprise to see what Joel has been shopping for.
This time it was a new mouse for my dad, another cell phone charger for the car, and tree bags for our front lawn. Fun.
A self-portrait of me waiting for my ride home in the rain.
The bus ride home.
Time for a quick dinner. Yum Yum.
Joel and I headed to gym. I love to do incline sit-ups with Russian twists and medicine ball toss.
Do three sets of fifteen of those and tell me you aren't sore!
After a shower, it is my favorite time of the day, snuggles with Joel before bed.

There you have it, everything I did on Wednesday, May 15, 2013. Pretty exciting life right!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Happy Anniversary to Anna & Robert!

Today marks two years since Anna & Robert were marriend in a beautiful ceremony on Whidby Island.

The night they first met back in 2006
Still in love as they ring in 2013

Congratulations to the cutest love birds I know!

The Best Things Ever!

Day 14: Ten things that make you really happy.

Joel. Hands down the best thing to ever happen to me, is the man who picked me for his wife. I am crazy, over the moon, beyond repair, in-love with this man - and I love it! Even the smallest gesture, means so much to me when it comes from Joel. He is patient, loving, witty, adventurous, loyal and generous. I know I can depend on him for anything. Nothing makes my day brighter than knowing I am going home to Joel.

Sunshine. When it gets warm outside and the sun comes out from behind the Seattle Clouds, I just want to be outside, soaking up all the sun I can get. I get a strong desire to start planning hikes, camping trips, day trips, long drives, backyard parties, anything to just be outside. I love the sunshine!

Family. My family is the best. I know that anytime I am around my family there is going to be laughter. Even the routine can be fun with my family. Even my extended family is a kick in the pants. I have been told my family is intimidating (there are a lot of us and we are loud when we are all together), but we are a fun, loyal and kind bunch of people. I wouldn't have it any other way!

Friends. Joel and I have made many friends throughout the years and we try to spend lots of time with everyone. We go on trips, we plan barbeque's and get together. But it doesn't matter what we do, I just love spending time with our friends. There is never a dull moment when we get together. 

Organizing. I love to organize. The whole process is so rewarding to me that I am always thinking of the next project I want to tackle. I love to empty out a closet, throw away all the junk, sort the items to keep and find the perfect home for each item left. It brings me a sense of calm and order; like I am finally back in control of this space.

Travel. Joel and I have both always wanted to travel and see far off places. So far we have been able to take a few trips and I just love it! Seeing new places, trying new food, and going on new adventures is something that I love to do. Our travels don't always require a passport or an airplane, but we have just as much fun our local trips as we do on our international trips.  There are just too many places on our list that we are not sure where to visit next!

Accomplishments. I love to get things done, check them off the list, and feel like I did something with my day. I feel guilty if I go home from work and sit on the couch until bed time. I always get this sense of having missed an opportunity to accomplish something with my time. I love it when I am able to check a few items off my never ending to-do list.

Finding the Perfect Gift. I love that feeling when you find the perfect gift for someone. When you  know it is just the right thing for them. I put a lot of thought in the gifts I give people and when I get it correct, it feels great.

Reading a Great Book. I love to read and have read a lot of good books over the years. But what I really love is when you stumble across that really, really great book. A book that grabs you from the start and never lets you go. That is how I felt the first time I read Water for Elephants or The Help or even Angela's Ashes. There is just nothing like reading a great book.

My Bed. I love our bed. I love to sleep. I am usually asleep within ten minutes of hitting my pillow, but those ten minutes are heaven on earth. I love the weight of the blankets, the softness of my pillow and the sound of Joel's breathing next to me. They are the most peaceful moments of day and I soak it all up.

Monday, May 13, 2013

An Apologetic Jokester

Day 13: Issue a public apology.

Dear Family,

I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to my family for the years of terrible jokes. I will admit to taking advantage of everyone being at the dinner table. Entrapped by your need to eat, I took our evening meals as my chance to take center stage. I could say that I was child and therefore had a child's sense of humor. However, clearly this sense of humor has stayed with me well into adulthood. I could say that you do not have a sense of humor. But it has been verified from many sources that my jokes were terrible. So all I can say is I am sorry for the painful minutes spent pretending to listen and pretending to laugh. I would like to clarify, this is an apology, not a promise to stop. So for the jokes I have told, the jokes I continue to tell, and the jokes in my future, I am sorry dear family.

 How do you catch a unique rabbit?
You unique on it.
How do you catch a tame rabbit?
Tame way, you unique up on it.
What do you get when a cow rides a roller coaster?
A milkshake!
What to astronauts eat for lunch?
Launch meat!
What did the hat say to the  hat rack?
You stay here, I will go on ahead!
Why can't a bicycle stand on its own?
Because it is two tired!
What's your favorite cheesy joke?

Sunday, May 12, 2013

I Miss My Childhood

Day 12: What do you miss?

Looking through all my old photos for some of my recent posts has made me miss the carefree days of my childhood, especially in the summer time. When the days would last for what seemed like forever. When my sisters and I would play outdoors from sunrise to sunset.

We would start our days by making some cinnamon and sugar toast, making an extra slice to give to our dog, Taffy. We would sit on the front steps, eating our toast, sharing with Taffy and watch the world wake up. We might then ride our bikes for a bit. We had a pretty big driveway, but we much preferred to ride our bikes around the berry fields that surrounded our house. We could ride for hours down dirt roads, dodging berry pickers and pick-ups, stopping to eat as many strawberries, raspberries and blueberries as we could stuff in our tiny faces. We would race around the pond, seeing who could make a lap in the fastest time. We would peddle our little banana seat bikes as fast as could, trying to beat each other down the path.

We might play make-believe in the tree house for a bit. Our dress up bin was full of anything and everything we needed to be pioneers (just like Laura Ingalls Wilder), or Indians, or Royalty in our Tree house Castle. We would grow little "gardens" in our sandbox by burying rocks in little, neat rows with twigs to mark the rows. We would play rescue rangers by throwing all of Julie's stuffed animals out her second story bedroom window.  Then we toss an an Easter basket with jump ropes tied together out the bed room window, Julie would fill up the baskets with animals needing rescuing and we would pull them to safety, bunching up the side of the house. Mom said she heard a bunch of noise and looked out the bathroom window, in time to see a basket with a bear and a gorilla in it go past, on it's way up the side of the house.

We would put dish soap on the trampoline, put the sprinkler underneath and turn it on for our slip and slide, with bounce. I don't how we didn't break every bone in our bodies. We played three person games of baseball, basketball, and anything else we could think of. We would act out our favorite movies and make up dances to our favorite songs.

We would stay out as late as we could and often negotiated running through the sprinkler in exchange for taking a bath. We would lay in our beds as the sun drifted below the horizon listening to mom read us a story while we imaged how we would make-believe the very same scenes the next day.

These were the days of my childhood. These are the carefree days I miss.