2020

The World is Burning

This is such a weird post to write. I wasn’t going to write about any of this, but then things changed and shit got kinda real and sometimes this blog is therapeutic so…here goes.

In case you don’t live in the NW, the West Coast is on Fire. California is seemingly always on fire July-September. But in the last 5 or so years, it feels like Oregon is also on fire. There have been some really significant fires here in Oregon. The most notable was the Eagle Creek Fire in 2017.

It’s crazy (I wrote about it here) but Michael and I were out in the Gorge for a day hike without the kiddo when the Eagle Creek Fire happened. We had just missed it. If I remember correctly, we were on the Washington side of The Gorge. That fire devastated Oregon in so many ways. We are still feeling the effects 3 years later and there are many, many hiking trails in the Gorge that are still closed due to that fire.

Anyways, 2020 is just the gift that keeps on giving, man.

Monday (Labor Day) there were reports of “Historic Wind Storms” in Portland and as the winds started picking up in the late evening, I moved stuff inside the garage from the yard. Michael took the canopy down from the deck. I put away anything outside that could blow away. The whole night was the sounds of horrific winds. Our bedroom is upstairs and it sounded like the roof was going to fly off.

There was so much debris outside the next day. Branches, leaves, nothing super significant, thankfully. Lots of power outages all over Portland. The winds were strong all day and the sound of sirens and fire trucks was all I heard ALL DAY while I worked at home Tuesday.

So….Tuesday morning, very very early, I woke up after not sleeping much (because I was taking care of Stevie post-surgery all night and listening to the storm) and saw that my aunt and uncle had evacuated early in the morning due to fires. It was a shocking thing to see and then I saw some news articles and pictures and my breathe caught in my chest. It was absolutely horrifying. Like hellscape, the world is on fire, horrifying.

I spent the morning scouring Facebook updates from family and friends who were giving updates and relaying news. For hours the update was that everything was gone.

These are pictures of the area where my aunt and uncle live that I saw on the news. The picture below of that road? I’ve driven that road a million times.

I broke down when I saw those photos and read the updates about what was burned down–and potentially gone. Late in the afternoon we got news my aunt’s house and barn was ok. The rest of the area was burned. They aren’t out of the woods yet. It’s all so devastating. I just think about what people have lost, the farm animals they lost, the years it will take to recover.

(Picture from the news crew down in Stayton, OR–at NOON!!!!! No filter)

Tuesday night we started getting updates about the fires moving north. Closer to us. Our county was now in Level 1 for evacuation. Level 3 is GO NOW.

I packed bags just in case. I was 85% sure we were fine. But just in case……..I packed a backpack full of documents we’d need. Then a suitcase of photo albums. I got the cat carriers ready and if we got into Level 2 I was going to pack a bag of clothes, meds and last minute stuff just in case.

(Picture from Twitter)

It’s so weird to live your life and then think, “What is absolutely something I need to pack in case I lose EVERYTHING?”

Things I realized too late: too much “essential” stuff was scattered around the house (so not easy to grab in minutes), my car was almost empty of gas, so not ideal in an emergency. I found this on facebook and it’s good info:

Thankfully we were ok Tuesday night. I slept pretty well, despite everything. No updates. When I was taking Logan to school Wednesday morning, the sky was black and gray with thick smoke. I filled up my car with gas. I got more stuff in order.

These pictures were Wednesdays afternoon from my front porch:

I was getting messages from people who were evacuating, updates from family members who said that they were not out of the woods yet and round 2 of the fires was starting. I heard of friends that lost everything. Texts from coworkers checking in. Alerts from news. It was craziness.

And then I looked at our skies and the thick smoke and the maps of how close the fires were to us and it was pretty scary. The next few days are going to be very stressful and heartbreaking for a lot of people. It’s hard to even imagine and words just don’t do it justice. And let me just say this, climate change is real. If you’ve never lived through horrific wildfires, hurricanes, etc, I guess maybe it’s easy to doubt that. But…the crisis is here.

2020

The start of a new decade. As I look back, I think of all of the stuff I did and all the things I accomplished and think “wow.” It was a lot!

I started this blog. I made a lot of friends online through blogging and Twitter. I am grateful for that. It was nice to have a “community.” I maintained my weight loss of 110 pounds for over 10 years.

I was on the cover of a magazine! And on the local news. My 15 minutes of fame. LOL

Michael and I did a TON of traveling! Something I definitely miss. Having kids means that changes, for sure. We still travel but it looks differently. But pre-Logan, we went to Texas a few times (Austin was great!), Vegas a few times, Tucson twice, California, Hawaii twice…so many fun trips.

We did a lot of activities together, too. I ran a bunch of races–half a dozen 5ks, a 10k, Hood To Coast. We biked a lot of events together (Reach the Beach and the Portland Century). You can read about the different events here.

We got a dog! Welcome to the family, Bella! Bella has been a gift to our family. I can’t imagine our life without her. She’s the best dog ever. She’s the best cuddler. πŸ˜€ She’s just so happy and sweet.

We got engaged and married. And went to Maui for our honeymoon. That was such a magical time!

I got pregnant and we had Logan:

It’s crazy how different our life is after having a baby. It really does change everything. But like with Bella, I can’t imagine NOT having Logan in our life. Both are a blessing.

Logan was a fairly easy baby with a sweet disposition and a goofy laugh. He loved everything and everyone and was curious and energetic. He grew into a curious and energetic toddler. And now, in 2020 he’s going to turn 4 years old (crazy!) and he’s smart and stubborn and inquisitive and opinionated.

In sad news, I said goodbye to my beloved kitty of 15 years. It was one of the hardest, saddest things I’ve ever done and the grief was real. I cried for months. It took almost a year and a half before I was able to even think about another cat.

In 2018 we welcomed Stevie to our family:

Stevie fit right into our family immediately like he always belonged there. He loves everyone and particularly loves cuddling with Bella! It’s so cute. πŸ™‚

In 2019, Logan and I both had surgery. I had sinus surgery (which has helped me a lot!) and Logan got tubes put in his ears. While both were good things, it added to the stress of 2019 in particular. Healing in general is difficult.

We bought a new house in 2019. Packed up our old house, finished the remodeling projects, moved into our new house, put our house on the market….

And after a VERY stressful summer, our old house SOLD! What a relief! A huge weight off our shoulders. We could finally relax and enjoy our new house and get settled without worrying about the old house selling.

As I sit down and think about the last decade of my life I think “pheww! that was a lot of stuff!” And it was, a lot of big life stuff. Big “adult” stuff. To say that it’s been a lot would be an understatement.

When I think about the new year and what I want to accomplish, my goals are simple. Yes, I am still trying to lose weight. I still have 20 or so pounds to lose. I’ve struggled with my depression and anxiety and medication management. I have been gaining and losing the same 10 pounds since I had Logan. It’s frustrating. So I am hoping that 2020 is the year I end that cycle.

I’d also like to work on being more kind to myself. I often feel like a failure when I don’t reach my goals in a specific time frame, even if they aren’t realistic. Patience is not my forte.

I’d also like to build more me time and more family time/downtime into our schedule. We tend to be very booked and it can get stressful and overwhelming. I miss doing fun stuff on the weekends and going out of town for little getaways. I’d like to do that more.

QUESTION: What were the big highlights of your decade? Any New Year’s Resolutions?