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Paradise Sunsets from Mountain to Beach

Mount Rainier National Park – Paradise, Washington

Vacation Road Trip from Mountain to Beach Sunsets

It’s a blessing to be able to take an August vacation and road trip with my daughter. We celebrate her birthday, relax from work & routine and get ready for back to school. This year we drove 600 miles in four days and spent three nights in the natural beauty of both the mountains of Mount Rainier National Park in Washington and the beaches of Seaside & Cannon Beach Oregon.

Climbing Information Center Paradise Mt Rainier

Paradise Sunsets

We spent our first night at the Paradise Inn within the Mount Rainier National Park. The forested drive up from the southwest Nisqually entrance is beautiful, with many turnouts for spectacular photo backdrops of the mountain, streams and stony riverbeds. Stops along the way included park headquarters in Longmire and the Visitor Center at Paradise. Many people were enjoying the beautiful weather, from mountain climbers & hikers & bikers to day-tripper families like us. The meadows were lovely with their summer wildflowers. It was peaceful to be outdoors and enjoy an evening walk as the sun set over the mountains.

Sunset at Paradise Mount Rainier

Oregon Coast Sunsets

After our night in Paradise (I love saying that) we drove south and west to the Oregon coast. It’s a nice scenic drive, past many symbolic Pacific Northwest views. There were deer, lush green trees, logging trucks, log mills, ports, roadside businesses and tourist spots. This trip was all about relaxation and other than hotel reservations, was free from deadlines and structured activities.

Cannon Beach Fun


We spent two nights in Seaside, Oregon. It’s on the shore and is made for family fun, shop browsing and beach strolling. Like any tourist town, there are knick-knacks, arcade games, ice cream and candy stores. For my teen, the highlights were a hotel swimming pool & getting a lifeguard sweatshirt. We drove about eight miles down to Cannon Beach the second evening to take in the views of Haystack Rock. Waiting for the sun to set, we were able to take a long walk and look in the tide pools. There were people flying kites, riding beach bikes and making sand castles. Everything you would expect at the beach – except swimming. The ocean water is COLD! And of course there was gymnastics in the surf. Not by me, but the youthful one.

Cannon Beach Sunset

For me, the mountains at Paradise and the beaches at Seaside & Cannon Beach were a chance to reconnect with the beauty and power of nature. There’s not much that beats the sound and feel of a sunset walk in the tide or a mountain hike. The peace that comes with just listening to the surf or meadow and pausing to reflect is priceless.

Haystack Rock Sunset

Do you have any fun summer memories to share? Please leave a comment or share.

Visit the National Park System website for more information on Mount Rainier National Park.
The Visitor Center and Paradise Inn at Paradise are both wheelchair-accessible.

All my best,
Angie

All photographs © 2012 Periwinkle Years LLC – All Rights Reserved

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Having It All and Plumbing Too

I Am Woman

Sometimes Having It All means Doing It All.

Or at least it feels like it. I do my share of whining. I’m the first to admit it. But I try not to complain too often (ok, not as much) about situations or challenges that result from conscious choices I have made. I became a working, single mother by choice through adoption thirteen years ago and it was the best decision I ever made. That said, sometimes the unrelenting lists of have-to and should-do are overwhelming. The want-to list gets more attention now with an older child but it’s always tempered with responsibilities.

Today was one of those days I just knew I had to stop avoiding a task and get it done. My kitchen sink pipe jiggled loose and I was unable to make the pipe fit back together firmly enough to keep it from leaking. I’m too ashamed to say how long ago this happened because I have washed a bunch of dishes in my bathroom sink since then. I made an attempt to fix it but the weird angle of the pipe was causing too much tension to keep it in place. I bought extra parts and still could not get it to fit correctly. So I’ve had a bucket under the sink to catch any leaks.

If you’ve never had to sit on the floor and bend under the cupboards to unscrew and replace plumbing pipes then you’re in for a real treat. Today I knew I had to try again. Did I mention that it was about ninety degrees in my kitchen? After trying for over an hour to switch out parts and make it work I finally admitted the ones I had were not going to work. I did not cry but I wanted to. Male joints. Female joints. Did you know they are called that? My dogs were there to give emotional support but were otherwise useless. Finally, I took some photos on my iPhone and off to McClendon’s Hardware I went.


What’s wrong with this picture?


God Bless the plumbing supply WOMAN at the store. She looked at the pic and told me that the J bend slip joint (yes, that’s what it’s called) was on BACKWARDS. Now I just want you to know I did not install it that way (and I made sure to tell her too). Whoever put in my sink put it in that way and forced the pipes to barely fit together. Until they didn’t any longer. After advising me that I just needed to turn it around and make sure to only use a washer on the tall side, back home I went. I ended up having to cut off about an inch and a half of the upper tailpiece pipe to make it fit. But ta-da and without slicing my finger with my box cutter, I was in business. I have my sink back and no leaking.

Maybe There’s A Better Way

You might ask “why didn’t you just hire a plumber?” That would be an excellent question. Here’s the thing. I get much satisfaction knowing that I am capable of doing many household maintenance tasks that others would not attempt. Plus I don’t like spending money if I can do it myself. I have been been independent most of my life – sometimes by choice and sometimes by necessity. But I really need to be better about outsourcing tasks instead of letting them linger until I’m too embarrassed or ashamed to ask for help. As I get older, the thrill of doing it myself is becoming replaced by the desire to just have it done for me and off my to-do list. I’ve always struggled with hiring or asking for help. Sometimes because I can’t be home to supervise but also because I’m never quite sure who to trust. I know there are referral resources available but I still find it challenging. I don’t like to inconvenience my friends, although they would surely help if asked. Maybe I don’t need to do it all. And that’s not failure.

Do you ever struggle with this? How do you approach asking for or hiring help?

I’m going to try harder to:
1. Get over it. Recognize when fear of embarrassment is keeping me from asking for help.
2. Ask for help. Hire out a small job. Realize that my issue is probably one they’ve dealt with many times.
3. Not wait so long. Don’t ignore what needs to be done.
4. Be kinder to myself.

Leave me a comment and share your ideas. Do you sometimes feel like you have to do it all?

All my best,
Angie

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Trading Bad Eating Habits for Healthier Ones

Salmon at Pike Place Market

The First Steps to Healthy Eating.

Today will be the last day of week 7 on my journey to healthier eating habits. There was no bright, dazzling light drawing me with inspiration into this journey. It was more like shouldering a heavy pack and hitting the road for a 5,000 mile trek. Alone. In the rain. In the dark. Barefoot.

Really, though, the heavy pack is the weight I’ve been carrying around and adding to for years.

I think ahead to retirement in less than ten years (I’m better at forward looking than present focus). I’m saving for it. I can’t think of much that will make me angrier at myself than if I get there and am not healthy enough to travel and live without serious, avoidable illness.

No matter what the diet industry wants you to believe (and spend billions of dollars on), there really is nothing new about successful weight loss. I know it and you know it. Here’s the secret: eat less, exercise more. Brilliant. There are different tools to help you if you choose to take the first steps. It works the same as trying to get your personal finances in order. Assess where you are, monitor your daily habits, make changes necessary to achieve your goal.

Assess Where You Are

The usual disclaimer applies. You should always check with your doctor before making changes to be sure you are getting guidance for your personal medical situation. This is actually a plus, for several reasons. You tell someone that you are committing to a change; and then your doctor can weigh you. Yes, the dreaded scale may be a bummer. If you feel you will be too discouraged to hear what you really weigh, have the doctor write it in your records and not tell you. For now. Later you can hear how much you’ve lost. When I told my doctor that I had set boundaries at work, was working less overtime and generally feeling less stressed, his response was: “Great! Now you have more time to exercise.” Not the pat on the back I was hoping for, but true.

After that, here’s what I suggest. These steps are working for me. They will help you understand your current eating habits and develop new, healthier ones. Again, these are not new ideas. Use a notebook, journal, spreadsheet or phone app to write down what you eat and drink. Everything. Your morning coffee. What you put in it. How much you eat or drink. Every sauce. Every snack. Every meal. Every taste of the food you are cooking for yourself or your family. It’s okay to start by estimating the size of your portion – a cup, a piece, a quarter lb.

The purpose of this is to raise your awareness of what you are consuming and how much. Writing down when you eat is also helpful at understanding whether hunger is triggering your eating or if it’s just habit. It’s about owning your current behavior because you know you want to change it. Trust me, I know how easy it is to be in denial about how much I am eating. This will be the beginning of the next step in creating new habits.

Monitor Your Daily Habits

Continue to write down your daily food and drink choices. Start to weigh and measure your food so that you are accurately estimating the number of calories you are eating every day. If you eat at work, packing your lunch really helps with this. Look up the foods you eat and record the calories. Read the labels on boxes, cans and jars. Notice the amount of fat, protein, carbohydrates and sodium in your choices. If you are eating out, most restaurants will post or provide the nutritional information for their servings. You can write down what you eat and look up the calories at home on the computer, if this works best for you. You can find all the nutritional information you need through a simple internet search for “calories in food.” When you do this you will start to see a change in your choices. Maybe you will say “Hey, that plate of pasta I just ate was really 4 servings and 1,000 calories. And it wasn’t worth it.” You can have that glass of wine at the end of the day. But you have to account for it in your total.

Make Changes Necessary To Achieve Your Goal

Setting a weight loss plan is as easy as determining how many calories you can eat daily at your current weight to lose a target number of pounds each week. This information is also available online, as well as how different forms of exercise can add to your weight loss. It will differ for each person. I have opted for a slow and steady weight loss goal, in order to be successful and not get discouraged. One more note about staying positive. I am against scales and weigh-ins, except every few months. If it helps you stay accountable, then do it. But for me watching the ups and downs can be demotivating. I prefer to watch and see how my clothes fit. I can tell I’m losing weight. And I can see it. For me that’s motivating.

Once you have set a daily goal for your calories, you can make choices that work for you. There may be foods to avoid because you cannot control your portions once you get started. There may be times of the day that you are normally more hungry. There may be emotional triggers or habits that make you want to snack when you first get home or every evening. If you understand them you can divert yourself or make a better choice.

Finding Foods that Work in Your Life

By continuing to record what you eat all day, you can make adjustments for what you plan to eat later in the day. The first two weeks are the hardest, as your body adjusts to eating less and you adjust your habits. Wanting to eat as soon as I got home and nightly snacking were my hardest challenges. And fewer carbs too. I love potatoes, pasta and rice. Prepared portions for those have helped me enjoy them without blowing my calories for the day. And I love salad and steamed vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower, so those are my “fill up foods” if I need them. I prefer less breakfast as long as I can have my morning nonfat latte. For me, I know I can stick to a very healthy plan for breakfast and lunch, and need to conserve calories for the evening which is much more challenging. A portion controlled, healthy snack in the car on the way home – like apricots or almonds – helps me to eat a more reasonable dinner.

The reason I chose my salmon photo for this post is that for the first few weeks of my healthier eating, salmon was in season, readily available and affordable. I ate it more frequently than usual because it felt healthy, full of calcium and a good choice for satisfying my sense of taste. That is what you need to do. Find out what you can eat that doesn’t feel like a deprivation, keep track, mind your portions and be aware of your choices. And if you have a day when you don’t eat the best things or overdo it, forgive yourself and start over the next day. You didn’t get overweight overnight. Slow and steady wins the race.

Are you on the same journey? What works for you?

All my best,
Angie

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The Intraverted Entrepreneur – My Intrapreneur Adventure

Are You an Intraverted Entrepreneur?

Are You an Intraverted Entrepreneur?
“…The only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”
~ Franklin D. Roosevelt

I’ve been thinking about fear this week and it’s power to either motivate us forward into action or freeze us in our tracks. When FDR spoke these words in his 1933 inaugural address, he was talking about America’s struggle out of the Great Depression. I’m relating it to new ventures and breaking out of a comfort zone to pursue a goal. How do you manage your fears or insecurities and keep movement towards your goal, in forward motion?

I have started a new project to develop a website about the rapidly growing wine industry in Washington. I’m excited about it. A growth boom is happening right in my backyard and I want to be part of it. I’ve decided not to be intimidated by the fact that there are many people with much more knowledge about wine. I can learn. It’s a stretch goal for me.

I’m really enjoying the challenges of developing a vision for my website, looking at design options and researching local businesses. These are largely solitary activities that I can perform anywhere as time allows. A key part of this project is learning about individual wineries, tasting rooms and related businesses. Meeting people, reaching out with information and developing a communication plan are key. This is where the fear and discomfort come into play. I’m an introvert. Holy cow.

The Passport to Woodinville wine tasting event last weekend was a great opportunity to get out and interact with wineries and wine lovers. I had planned to introduce myself to some new people and to some that I have been interacting with on twitter. To give myself some credit, I gave myself a pep talk and went out and did that. But in terms of the number of people I interacted with, I could have done much better. I really enjoyed Saturday’s activities but needed Sunday to recover. Sensory overload. Why was that so hard for me? How can I be a better networker? Why is meeting new people so hard?

Surely there must be successful entrepreneurs that are introverts. What are their strengths and how do they compensate for their weaknesses? What tips are out there? These questions sent me to the internet, where we know all knowledge is available.

Here’s what I found.

Susan Cain, featured speaker at TED 2012, writes and speaks about the role of introverts, their strengths and contributions. Some advice she has offered in the past, which I will try to assimilate is that “the best way to approach networking events is to treat it as one individual conversation after another.” Like breaking down a daunting project into manageable tasks, approaching a crowded room one person at a time sounds less overwhelming. Her new book “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking,” is now on my list of must-read books.

Also, in his 2011 blog post “The Introverted Entrepreneur’s Survival Guide,” James Wedmore outlines some strengths of an introverted entrepreneur and provides tips for performing at your best. His tips to introverted entrepreneurs include being conscious of your energy levels in order to recharge, push your comfort zone to become more extroverted and create support systems.

So what have I learned?
Yes, the fact that I am introverted presents challenges to developing new relationships and may cause me to feel fear or discomfort. It’s okay to expand my comfort zone at my own pace. I just have to keep working at it. It’s okay to schedule activities that drain my energy sparingly so that I can recharge. Persevere. Recognize my strengths and build on them. Find a support system of people coping with similar challenges.

I’m sure there are many introverts out there who have benefited from the ability to run a business on the internet. Have you had to overcome any fears or insecurities when building your networks? What methods did you use to keep moving forward? I’d love your comments.

All my best,
Angie

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How to Make a Boomer Sandwich

Family Matters


Take one adult, aged 48 to 64 years, employment variable. Add one or more dependent child or grandchild and one or more aging parent. Multiply by two if married. Combine financial responsibilities, saving for college and retirement planning. Add long distance. Season with guilt and worry.

My Mom has been in the hospital this week, 3,000 miles away, for surgery and I have been feeling very guilty about not being there. It came up a bit suddenly, we talked about it, and I decided not to travel there with my daughter at this time. We’ve talked on the phone daily and everything has gone okay for her. She has some help lined up at home and we’re taking it a day at a time.

This is the latest stressful situation – I am never sure of the best way to handle them. I dread bad news when the phone rings. My years as part of the “Sandwich Generation” are just beginning. I have a full-time job and financial responsibility for my household. My daughter is still in school and my Mom lives independently; So far it’s been more about worrying and emotional stress, and not financial stress. The what-ifs and what-should-I-do weigh heavily on my mind.

We’ve already dealt with my Mom’s move from her house to an apartment, paying off debt and her husband’s declining health and recent death. For some of these, my support has been only emotional and of a problem solving nature. In other cases, it has involved physically traveling 3,000 miles to be there in person. For each thing I’ve done, there have probably been five more things I could have done if we lived closer to each other. That’s where much of the guilt comes in. There’s the constant need to evaluate whether the seriousness of a situation requires an in-person visit. Sometimes the decisions are not mine to make and I need to respect her wishes and take a step back. My mom has to make her own long term decisions and I try to be supportive.

Since I don’t see my mother on a regular basis, I try to gauge her wellness through phone calls and lots of questions. It is like role reversal – the child becoming the parent. What did your doctor say when you had your last exam? Did you go to the grocery store this week? Did you pay your bills? Are you taking the recyclables and garbage down to the bins? Did you get out of the apartment this week? I nag all the time.

These are situations that many people deal with on a daily basis as they get closer to their own retirement and still have to care for dependent children and aging parents. We don’t always talk about it but everyone has some challenge or another. It helps me to think I can control some things but the reality is that there’s always something around the corner that can upset the best plans.

I try to reduce my own stress about the unknown by planning ahead. Seeing a parent age really makes me more aware of the need to be able to take care of myself.

Here are some things I do and think about:

• I save for retirement and have for the last 23 years, like a squirrel hoarding my nuts. I wonder when I will be able to retire from a stressful career. How much money do I need? Will I be able to take a different job and still meet my retirement goals? What do I want my retirement to be like? Do I want to move? Can I afford to be retired for 30 years?

• I save for college for my daughter. She probably won’t get a full ride but the rest we will plan together to come up with a combination of student loans and affordable choices. My financial security comes first. It’s a bit like the emergency air mask on an airplane. Help yourself before you can be able to assist someone else.

• I keep vacation days in reserve in case of emergency. For my own mental health, I don’t use all my vacation time for family visits. I need my own time to recharge and relax. I need breaks from work and take them more frequently. There are no-cost staycations and fun travel vacations with my daughter when we can afford it.

• I try to live a healthier lifestyle, though this is an area where I’ve had mixed success. I still get overwhelmed, don’t sleep enough, have gained weight, get more easily annoyed and often feel sad. I also say “no” more and make time to just do nothing. I need to exercise more and ask for help when I need it.

As the Sandwich Generation deals with these types of issues, I believe we will hear much more dialogue on the subject and people will reach out for support. As a society, I don’t believe the resources are in place to offset the tidal wave of help needed. I know I struggle with when and where to ask for help.

Do you reach out for help in dealing with the combination of raising your family and caring for a parent? What helps you the most?

All my best,
Angie

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What are Periwinkle Years?

To me, they represent the second half of my life. These years while I reassess what to do with my time and what I still want to accomplish. How to create security as I head into retirement. How to discover a new passion. I'm on that journey. Maybe you are ready to create a new adventure too. What do you dream of doing?