Time For A Change..

Blogging 101: Today’s assignment: try out at least three other themes — even if you’re happy with the one you first chose. Try one you’re drawn to, and one you would never use.

Yakima Valley

 

I’m just a bit behind on some of these posts – and I thought that this particular assignment would not take me very long. I was wrong .. and I confess, I tried out ALOT more than just 3 themes.

I had been using “Adelle” for the longest time, and I was actually a little sad to change things up – through this assignment, I’ve realized the following about myself:

1. I get easily attached to what I love and what I’m comfortable with .. whether it be a “theme” used on my blog site, a vehicle I drive everyday (I love my Civic, but I was a little sad .. when I said to goodbye to my FIT .. I might have to go back to the FIT, now that there is a Sun Roof option) .. sometimes it’s the little things .. and sometimes it’s the big things – but to this day, I struggle with change – something I’m working on, and will continue to work on.

2.  I’m very particular about my decisions – there were so many themes to choose from, with so many different layout options.. but I found myself drawn to those layouts that were clean, concise, and had a side bar on the right side of the blog site.  I liked some of the other layouts, but then my pictures were compromised – and that bothered me. I was drawn to some of the themes that had bright colors and big fonts, but I found myself shying away them at the same time.  I’m not a risk taker, and I felt like some of these big fonts & colors were just a little too bold for my taste.

3. I love having “options” – Some of these layouts had amazing options for color and pattern changes .. but you had to purchase the theme in order to make changes. I’m easily drawn to the “accessories” or “added features” when I’m contemplating on the purchase of a product.  When I was deciding between the Honda Civic and The Mazda 3, the ultimate deciding factor came down to a digital screen in the civic that could also be used as a “picture frame” of one JPEG photo! Once I found out I could display in a picture in that screen – I was sold! While viewing these other themes, I found myself almost tempted to buy the upgraded theme so I could also personalize it as well! This is something that might just have to wait until after the holiday season though!

I’m not sure how long I’ll stick with this new theme.. but I’ll give it a try for a little while!

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_assignment/101-themes/

Like Mother … Like Daughter?

Blogging 101: Today’s Assignment: publish a post for your dream reader, and include a new-to-you element in it.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_assignment/101-dream-reader/

Garden Valley 2005

Sometimes when I’m looking at the mirror .. getting ready in the morning .. I see your reflection looking back at me.  I’ve been told that in certain pictures I’ve posted that I look just like you.  The other day, as I excused myself from a funny conversation, laughing to myself as I walked to my car – It was your laugh I heard.. and when I find myself consoling a friend, always looking at the brighter side, I hear you in my word choice.. Just the other day, I was visiting with some friends, sharing memories – and I was reminded of those early mornings, when I would watch you get ready for the day.  If anyone could pull off the short pixie haircut, it was you…even that time you dyed your hair and it turned bright orange (remember the sulfate water in Hillsboro, McKay Creek Farms) – you still looked amazing! You had the perfect pair of black heels, pencil skirt, and electric blue silk blouse.. and when you applied the finishing touches with the signature red lipstick – your meticulous morning routine left no room for imperfection.. because in my eyes,  you were a movie star in the making .. the look-alike singer in that 80’s Band Roxette .. at least that was the general consensus of my friends in junior high… and you were the one I looked up to, you were who I wanted to be when I grew up…

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I wish I could go back in time, and relive those moments of us together, when we still got along – staying up late and watching those mini series movies together (this was obviously before Netflix), remember that time you took me to get my very first manicure? It was right before my sleepover at Stefanie’s house… horseback riding … road trips to the various houses we lived in – I even enjoyed those times together .. painting that room upstairs in the loft when we lived in Lostine … learning how to make lasagna with you when we lived in St. Helens in that log house … listening to you sing “She’s In Love With The Boy” on our way to the store – I remember thinking to myself, what a beautiful voice you had that day… Freshman Homecoming Week, you “bought” Jake & Keri at the “Freshman Slave Auction”- and had them come dress shopping with us so that I could find that perfect dress.. that is actually one of my favorite memories I have with you.  I tried on several dresses … and yet .. it was that first blue violet dress with the embroidered floral print that stole your heart, and you told me, “Heather – THAT is THE dress!” and of course,  we had to get it!  You picked out a beautiful set of Austrian crystal earrings, and a  heart-shaped necklace with my initial carved in the middle.  I still have that jewelry set, and I think about you every time I wear it… all of my high school heart breaks .. friendships that had gone astray … ridiculous assignments that were required throughout the years .. you were there for all of it.  And, when I left for college the first time .. and the second time .. and even the third (and final) time .. I came home to visit, and we would catch up over a pot of coffee .. and numerous interruptions from brothers and a little sister .. and sometimes even the occasional kitty or Saint Bernard.  You always had the best stories on all the neighbors and town people .. with whom you swore you had nothing to do with .. but yet, still had all the dirt on! You were always good for that — and sometimes, when I’m telling a story of my own .. It’s you that I hear telling the story.

Remember when that movie “Mamma Mia!” came out? I remember you watching the previews for it and saying, “That looks like the most ridiculous movie ever!” I hadn’t given much thought to the movie … until people kept telling me that I needed to see this movie and that I would undoubtedly enjoy the plot of it – a girl who is about to get married, doesn’t know who her father is .. finds her mother’s diary .. in which she discovers the possibility of finding her dad … just in time for her wedding day. This movie (with the exception of it taking place in Greece, and the additional 3rd man) was relatable to me in so many different ways – If only life could be like the movies .. and if only you had written your deepest most personal thoughts in a diary … when you still loved my dad .. and I could still read about it.. I know that life was hard when you had me, when you left your first husband, when you raised me on your own for a little while, when you remarried someone else who also had a child, when you spent time and money in numerous family counseling sessions .. and when even then – life continued to get harder.  I wish that someday you could understand where I am coming from when I tell you that I never meant to hurt you or the rest of my siblings when I decided to seek him out.  It was never my intent to uncover a secret .. I’ve never had any ulterior motive or hidden agenda – I simply wanted to know who he was .. and when I began my search, seeking him out was initially so that I could rule him out as even being my dad because I BELIEVED the story you told me so long ago – the story that I was obsessed with for my entire life .. of a man .. a best friend .. who helped you conceive a baby .. so that your father could see his first grandchild before he died… that is what I had always believed in my heart … without any question, without a picture of what this man looked like .. without ever getting to introduce myself to him – I believed you.. and that night, when I told you what I found out, and all you could say to me was “How could you do this to me?” – I was speechless, after all these years – of me believing a story … and you wanted to know how I could do this to you.  You were so angry that night – at what I had done .. and you blamed the man you remarried for not being the father he should be .. because to you, that’s why I had to go looking for him.  Maybe if it hadn’t been treated like a dirty little secret, if I could have talked more openly about him (whoever “he” was) to you, maybe if you took my feelings about this seriously when I was younger .. and maybe if you could step back and realize that you aren’t the only one who has changed in 20 years .. then maybe we would still be talking today.

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You missed one of the most important days of my life – because you wanted me to promise you that “the others” would not talk to you or my little sister.  You didn’t want to be in any pictures with “the others” or “him” because that would just be a “picture full of lies”  What about the picture and what it would have meant to me? A picture that has my mother and my father (the two people who created me and who I love) together – not as a family, but simply a picture of me with both of my parents.  For one day, not even a full 24 hours, you could have watched your first child walk down the aisle and marry her best friend.  You’ll never get to see that moment – you missed it.. and that hurts… that is what I struggle with – when I think of all the other times you were there for me.  You are my mom – why couldn’t you just put your personal feelings aside and just be there for me on such a special and emotional day of my life.  I don’t understand – and I hope that someday I will.. because it still breaks my heart.  Do you know – his Dad came to our wedding .. my grandfather .. the man who refused to go to his own son’s wedding because he was against it from the get go … but he came to his granddaughter’s wedding, and although I don’t know him that well, I was very touched by the gesture, and the fact that there were more family members from my father’s side of the family.. and my own grandmother was there – and all of your sisters, and their children .. everyone was there to see me get married .. everyone but my own intermediate family who I lived with for over 20 years – It’s really too bad.. because it was a special day, something I wish you could have shared with me.

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I don’t know if you ever did watch that movie – but there’s 2 parts that always seem to get to me… the part where she is singing to her friends about her mother’s diary entries, and the end of the song she says, “I heard about you before, I wanted to know some more and now I’m about to see, what you mean to me.” That is exactly how I felt when I decided to find him – and I’m glad that I did because he is the most loving and caring parent – for what it’s worth, he’s an amazing man, and he & his family have only ever supported and loved me since our reunion.  I hope that someday you won’t be so bitter toward him or those who you claim are “dead to you” – bitterness turns into animosity and it isn’t healthy to have so much hate toward a person.  People do change – and he isn’t the man you knew straight out of high school… none of us are.

Missing Her Me & My Mom first birthday

The other part of this movie that touches me .. even makes me a little sad is when her mom is singing to her, getting her ready on her wedding day.. and reminiscing over a song, talking about when she was younger, and sitting at the breakfast table together, making plans .. understanding her daughter for just a moment in time .. this is how I choose to remember the type of relationship that we once had – because (before all of this) we did – and we were close, and I could tell you anything – I could confide in you, and I could trust you.  These are the memories I’m choosing to hold on to.. at the end of the song … she sings, “Sometimes I wish that I could freeze the picture, and save it from the funny tricks of time” – If only that were possible.

Rockaway Beach

If you could zoom through space in the speed of light, what place would you go to right now?

Today, choose a place to which you’d like to be transported if you could — and tell us the back story. How does this specific location affect you? Is it somewhere you’ve been, luring you with the power of nostalgia, or a place you’re aching to explore for the first time?

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Rockaway Beach

Nate and I decided to road trip to the Oregon Coast and that labor day weekend of 2013 couldn’t have been better. We arrived at the beach, Rockaway Beach, and the moment my toes felt the warm sand beneath them – it was as if time stood still.  We walked along the shore, letting the small tide waters brush over our feet, the water was warm and it felt amazing, not like the Pacific Ocean I remembered playing in as a child.. holding hands.. I promised him that we would turn back, “lets just walk a little farther.”

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I could see a few rock mountains in the distance – the sky clear, the sun shining bright, the sight of the ocean-going on and on forever, I could feel my mind starting to drift. It’s one of those places I could stay all day and be content just getting lost in the beauty of the scenery alone.  We stop for a few minutes and splash around in the water, jumping waves  just like some of the little kids nearby – the perfect weather has added a friendly invitation to dogs playing fetch with balls, Frisbees, and even a stuffed animal.  I see little toddlers holding their parents hands and walking along the shore.. a few older kids building sand castles, and others burying their feet in the sand .. watching and waiting for that next wave to move them closer to the water.  Skim boards and surf boards and a few flying kites are also visible in the distance… chatty little girls carry their bright red pails full of sea shells and silver dollars.  Couples similar to Nate and I walk hand & hand and admire the stunning view.  This is a moment I wish I could just freeze in time.

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I watch Nate walk ahead of me, I’m sure he is thinking about the next destination after this one .. where and when we will eat our next meal…and how much farther I plan on walking before we truly do start heading back to the car.  He turns his head to see if I’m still behind him .. sometimes I can’t help but just stop and enjoy this beautiful life.  The waves are so mesmerizing..For a moment, I’m a child again .. I’m running free in my salt water sandals with my favorite dog Sidney and my favorite doll Lisa Marie .. I don’t have a care in the world.  For a moment, I can see my Aunt holding me and taking me out into the ocean as I scream with delight.. feeling scared of all the big waves in front of us, but feeling safe because I know she won’t let go of me. For a moment, I can remember  that favorite beach house in Manzanita and the little store that my grandma would take me to each morning.. I’m reminded of the campfires we had on the beach, snuggled up in oversized sweatshirts and blankets that smelled just like the salt in the air  .. roasting hot dogs and marshmallows and taking the routine family photos by the tall green grass.. For a moment, just one moment, I wish that I could go back – to being that little girl who believed in finding love notes in a washed up bottle, magic starfish, and mermaids.. but for that moment, as I see my husband walking further ahead of me, I am that little girl – who has found her way back to the ocean with the love of her life .. even if for just a day .. This is one day that I will always remember and a place I will always wish I could just magically appear whenever my heart so desired.  “Look, there’s a Vacancy,” Nate points ahead at the little blue beach motel with the flashing red “vacancy” sign in the window.  I’m brought back to reality .. we are now walking back to our parked car .. and past the motel .. on to our next destination.

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Who I am & Why I’m Here! … in exactly 20 minutes!!!!

Blogging 101: Today’s assignment: write and publish a “who I am and why I’m here” post.
Writing 101: Write about anything for 20 minutes
*I’m combining the Blogging 101 and Writing 101 assignment into 1 Blog.

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Hi – My name is Heather and I’ve actually had this blog site for a few years.  I decided I wanted to start blogging after I helped manage/write contact for a blog at PNWU.  I’ve also always wanted to keep a blog for personal reasons.  Sometimes, I think some of my posts should be private – because some of the content has been hidden from my life for so long…and why would I share this with the public?  Now that I’m no longer a child and have the freedom to write what is on my mind, I find that blogging is very therapeutic.  I know there are those out there who probably don’t like or agree with some of my topics .. but I read once, it’s important to treat others nice, because someday – if / when they decide to write about their life, you would want them to write nicely about you and the role you’ve played in their life.  I’ve had a few people in my life who I don’t mean to speak horribly about, but some of my experiences are just that – experiences .. and as I’ve been told before and told others, you can’t control the behavior of others, you can only control your own behavior and how you react to those life moments.  This has been hard for me – simply because for so long – I let others control me, out of fear, sadness, and simply the unknown.  It took some pretty amazing people to step into my life and help me realize that I’m better than that – and I deserve to be treated better than that.. that life is not about living by a bunch of ultimatums or being talked down to .. life is about so much more.  It’s about not being afraid to mess up, or to even put yourself out there and believe in yourself, or sometimes fall flat on your face.  We only have one life here on earth, so we better live it – because it’s no fun when someone else tries to live it for you!

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My name is Heather – and I’m here to blog..to blog about pretty much everything and anything under the sun – to record some of my happiest and saddest memories .. and to make new friends along the way! I’m hoping that this Blogging 101 and Writing 101 assignments will push me to write more and improve more in my writing.  I’m hoping that it will also help me set a routine – because I do love to write, I just need to make time for it – it’s so important to take time, even if it is just 20 minutes .. to write about what is happening – I start a new job in a week, and I’m a little scared. But, as my husband reminded me tonight, “Heather you’ve done all the pieces of this job in your other previous jobs .. now it’s time to put this puzzle together!” He is right – it’s time – to start this new chapter in my life.  I know it’ll be hard at first, there is always that “learning curve” but a year from now – I will look back on this post, and I will feel happy, relieved, and more confident in this job … than I do right now.  That’s why blogs are important – they capture your feelings at the very moment you are feeling them.. and then you can reflect on them later. Blogs freeze moments in time.  I might only have 4 minutes of time remaining – but for this moment, this is what I’m thinking about… and this might just be one blog full of rambles .. but that was the assignment – and it’s a first for me, because my blogs — they are never timed, nor are they full of random thoughts.

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Are “they” your “babies”

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While visiting a friend (and mother of 4) a few weekends ago, I was asked the question about my dogs: “Are they your babies?”
My husband, a very straight and to the point kind of guy responded and said, “No, I’m not that guy.”  I was then asked, “Are you that girl?”  And for a minute, I was silent – almost as if I was searching for the politically correct answer for those of us who have not “fulfilled our duty” and helped populate this overpopulated world.  I responded with a “They are animals, we love them, and they are a part of our family.”  The conversation progressed into how some people treat their animals like their children, and how that’s just strange behavior, maybe even unacceptable in the eyes of those who have children, and did not understand the idea of treating an animal like a person. 

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Growing up, we always had animals – my mother worked for KOIN TV in Portland, Oregon and there was always a “Animal Rescue” of the day featured before the evening news.  If nobody called, we were “surprised” with a new pet.  I’ll never forget one morning, walking into the kitchen and seeing a handful of cats run across the kitchen table with my little brothers blueberry waffle (each holding a small part of it with their mouth), making a quick scurry for the sliding glass door that had been left open… my little brother (not more than 3 years old) watched in disbelief as his waffle quickly vanished from his breakfast plate.  It was one of those moments, when all I could do is also stare in disbelief and laugh at what had just transpired.  Yes, we had many animals growing up – cats, dogs, horses, pigs, goats, the occasional hamster and rabbit… they all added joy to our lives.  We knew they were animals  – as kids, of course, like most – when we had kittens, we carted them around in our doll strollers, dressed in doll clothing, wrapped up in our doll blankets – they were our “babies”.. and that’s what is great about being a child, there is no judgment, there is no politically correct answer, there’s just a child playing with her babies. 

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Every now and again when I drop off my Saint Bernard for her grooming appointment, I walk up and down the aisles of Pet Smart, and look at all the accessories, houses, purses, strollers even car seats that they have for all different types of animals.  The strollers are specifically made for animals, and it makes me giggle a little.  Although, I personally can’t justify a stroller, I’ll be the first to admit – when I do find my Tea Cup Poodle, I will be in search of the cutest and most girly purse to carry my little dog around in, and there certainly will be matching outfits involved… not because I believe animals to be the same as people, but because I just love to accessorize pretty much anything in my life, and why not – if it brings me joy and makes me smile, and I’m not hurting anyone, then why not?

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And what about those “people” who treat their animals like their babies? Are they really hurting anyone?  Do we honestly know what is going on in their personal lives.. and maybe, just maybe, these “babies” of theirs will be the closest reality for them to experience love, nurturing, bonding with another life.  Who are we to judge or to call them crazy for displaying the act of love?  Maybe they can’t have children and this is their way of coping with life situations, maybe this is their form of therapy, maybe they just love animals, and they want to enjoy the company of someone who doesn’t talk back, who doesn’t judge, who is always happy to see you at the end of a long day.  Maybe, like those who have decided to have children, they have decided to have animals.

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My husband and I don’t have children, we do have a Saint Bernard, a puppy, and a cat who “found” us a few years ago. Actually, a few years ago today – we had returned from one of our camping adventures (the last one before the end of summer). I looked out on our back porch and I immediately noticed this little kitten, skin & bones curled up to Destiny (our Saint Bernard).  I had always wanted a blonde kitty with blue eyes .. and that day, he found me! We named him Tigger, fed him, gave him a little cheta print house outside, and the rest is history! We share him with our next door neighbors, who lets him sleep inside their home at night.  He was meant for us though, just like our Saint Bernard, Destiny (who was born on the same night Nate proposed to me), and our newest addition, Penny the puppy (who found me outside of Target!) – we love her too, and we are happy with our life.  We are lucky to have animals that bring us lots of laughter & entertainment.. and we are lucky to have friends who have kids, that we can visit and enjoy … and we are lucky to have eachother, to come home to after a long day .. and enjoy a quiet evening, a night out on the town if we choose to do so, an unexpected weekend away, or a planned out 2 week vacation abroad.  For now, we are happy with the life we have – and we look forward to whatever life brings into our future.. because everything in life is what YOU make it.

-Heather Decker

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My Morning Mug

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This is my morning mug. It’s not only my morning mug, but my “weekend” morning mug. It is the mug I wake up to between 8am and 10am, that I’m happily greeted by on Saturday or Sunday, and it is what I often look forward to because I know that my weekend is officially here.

I’ve had this mug for almost 10 years now. It has evolved from a coffee cup left in my dorm room next to a September issue of Glamour magazine and a note from my aunt saying, “You can do this!” , to a permanent fixture on the corner counter of my kitchen, reminding me that Saturday is just around the corner!

During my college years, this mug  served well in times of late night caffeine fixes during numerous midterm / final study sessions, long heart to heart talks with friends, and even those early morning epiphanies that were easily followed up with by another jolt of “wake the heck up”, before that dreaded AM class!  Being a communications major, I didn’t have too many early morning classes (2 to be exact – 7AM Intro. to Communications & 7:30 Intro to Design/Edit, both my sophomore year).  Thankfully, as more of the communication classes worked their way into my schedule, I also had more Friday’s of NO class..apparently com prof’s were accustomed to having their Fridays off, believe me when I say this – I certainly wasn’t one to complain! In this case, my little mug took a seat on the sidelines, while I took a walk down to D&M or Starbucks and caught up on some studying or maybe a chat with a friend…. let’s be honest, Fridays are still Fridays .. and most times – it was more likely a social outing than anything related to academics.

As “College Life” ended and “Real Life” began, this little cup of goodness quickly fell into its new role, in which this Monday-Friday, 8AM – 5PM working girl greatly appreciates. It is now the mug that (once filled) I hold in my hand, sip slowly, and make plans for the day, which might include a walk around my quaint and quiet neighborhood, usually consisting of birds chirping, the sun rising, and those who reside in Zillah Lakes awaking with their own cup of Joe in hand.   Sometimes, I enjoy this mug of coffee while I watch my Saint Bernard and kitty cuddle together on our back porch, or over a phone conversation with my best friend (it’s our time to catch up on life) while I stick a load of laundry in the washer and “think” about possibly doing some yard work. Sometimes, this mug is accompanied with a plate of warm cinnamon rolls, a mid-morning movie, and much-needed snuggle time with my husband.  It’s also the mug that keeps me company while I brainstorm or write my latest blog, and when it’s empty – it’s the mug I fill back up, in hopes of more inspiration for the “right” word or that perfect ending to a story I’ve wanted to share, but just haven’t had the time to stop and think.. and freely write my thoughts… while I take a sip out of my morning mug.

By Heather Decker
*Credit to Melody Olsen for giving me the idea of writing about my morning mug :)