Sundays in my City Tamanawas Falls Hike

Yesterday was my first real attempt at getting a workout post-angioplasty, and I thought getting out in nature and visiting a beautiful waterfall was the best option for getting a workout. I had just bought a hiking book at the Borders going-out-of-business sale, called something like: Creaky Knees Hiker and lists out 80 great hikes for those who don't have fully-functioning knees/backs/legs/etc. I found one that I liked and then googled it and even though the book said it was a Moderate hike, everything online said Easy. I should have listened to my book. I wouldn't say it was easy.

It started out okay - an incline right at the beginning, then a decline, but then the rest of the way was almost all a slow incline. For 1.5 miles. And that's a bit much for a beginner hiker.

But it was the most beautiful day out, I was with some friends I don't get to hang out with much, and I was OUT and getting a good workout. And then I got to be here:
The whole path was gorgeous. There were a lot of downed trees to sit on near the water. I am not brave enough to crawl out on a log but one of my hiking partners was:
This bridge really tested my heart and how well it handles anxiety. Heights are a bit scary for me, but bridges that are slightly leaning to one side, that could fall at ANY second, truly are terrifying.

I want to make this into a puzzle!

Tree art!

Don't forget to look up while hiking! That view is gorgeous too!

This tree grew around a rock, its' roots giving it a nice little hug.

Tamanawas Falls, Mt Hood, Oregon



Unknown Mami

Just Stopping By To Say Hi!

Hi everyone! I've missed you. I'm sure you feel the same.

I have had no time to blog lately.

And mostly I just don't want to type any more than I have to...my wrist is KILLING me. You might remember I had an angioplasty a couple weeks ago, where they entered through my hip (they say groin, but I hate that word and it really was in my hip area), but before that, they did an angiogram and entered through my wrist. And they assured me that it would be fine in 5-7 days. We are on day 15. And the pain wakes me in the middle of the night. And by the end of the evening, I'm to the point where I try not to use my right hand if I can avoid it. Like driving. Driving is a one-handed task nowadays. And lifting anything. And watering the garden. I've tried writing left-handed, but it looks like a third-grader and it takes up twice as much room. But I'm becoming a bit ambidextrous, which is nice in case my hand never recovers or I have some unfortunate farming accident (don't farmers tend to lose a hand more often than other careers?).

I have been getting back into the swing of things - the first week post-surgery I stayed at home and barely left the house except to go to Fred Meyers for school supplies. This week I've been walking almost every night, testing out the new, happy and free of nastiness artery and so far so good! No chest pain with walking. Refreshing. Tomorrow morning, I'm driving up to the mountains to take a really easy hike to a waterfall with some friends. I'm excited to get out and do something, and take pictures, of course. Should be a good weekend.

Found this great picture while browsing around the World Wide Web and have to share it. Please feel free to share with all the people you know. It's very educational.

I don't know why the vicious Taco Bell dog isn't included in this picture...



Have a good weekend everyone!

Second Annual Bienestar Backpack Project Kick-Off...Earn Your Karma Points Here!

Remember how fun and wonderful it was on that first day of school to have your new sparkly backpack full of new school supplies that you could not wait to use? And then you get to school and you take each item out and very carefully arrange them in your desk in just the right way. And everyone around you is comparing the colored pencils they got and the erasers that you got and which things everyone have that are the same...



And remember as a parent, how excited your child was to get that new backpack and picking out all the fun school supplies for their new school year?

Now just for a second, imagine that you barely have enough money for food each month, that there is no such things as "school shopping", and that you have to send your child off on the school bus with no backpack, no school supplies. Is your heart-breaking? Yes, if you are human, it is a little bit.

I am coordinating a project with a nonprofit called Bienestar. Bienestar works with ten apartment complexes that house some of the poorest of the poor, the average yearly income is $20,000. For whatever reason that they are living in the situation they are - they still have children. And these children still care. They have feelings. And they are normal kids who just want what every other kid wants. And starting the school year off right means having a backpack with the basic school supplies on that first day.



About Bienestar:
The vision of Bienestar: Quality affordable housing is essential for individuals, families and communities to thrive. We envision and develop communities where residents find dignity, hope, confidence, skills, and courage to pursue their dreams.  We believe in the resilience and capacity of all human beings to help, change, adapt and lead in their own lives, their families, neighborhoods and communities. We work in the midst of the poorest neighborhoods to unleash the potential of people to improve the quality of life for themselves, their children, their families, and the community.
Bienestar has a variety of programs:
  • Promotores Program, an adult workforce training program to develop community leadership and educate low-income parents about health, school and job resources, housing/financial information, and prepare selected residents for future jobs in outreach.
  • Adult Programs: Programs for adult residents include computer classes, financial literacy, community gardens and more.
  • Youth Programs: Programs for young residents include Homework Club, AKA Science Club, Basketball Club and more.
Bienestar doesn't just give handouts. They reach out their hand and they lead you on the path to success. They are wonderful, and I am excited to be able to help them in any way.

The cheapest backpacks cost about $20 in the store. The average cost for basic school supplies is about $20. Simple math...$40 for one child to have what they need to start the school year off right.

I have 4 weeks to get all the supplies. There will be a volunteer event planned in August to actually stuff the backpacks with supplies. Bienestar staff will pass the bags out to the homework club kids (who actually do meet in the summer to study!).

This is my second year planning this project - last year was a huge success, which is amazing considering I planned it all and had all the donations gathered within a three-week time frame...

So who is with me? Who is ready to donate $5 (or $25) to help my backpack project?

Or who has a great contact with a company who would be willing to donate?
If you're feeling generous, or want to go to heaven, or are collecting karma points, or just have $20 burning a hole in your pocket - please click the button below and help out. Or email me and I can send you a mailing address. Or bring something on over to my house. And then just sit back and feel good about helping out!




Thanks all!

The One Where I Almost Died - Hopefully My One and Only Angioplasty Story

What an exciting week this has been folks!

Sit back and let me tell you a little story about how I cheated death..

About four weeks ago, I was going for my nightly stroll through my neighborhood and felt something weird in my chest. Like something heavy was compressing it. The pain went away when I stopped walking, but even really slow walking - to get home from around the corner - brought it on again. I went home and rested, and everything was fine. The next night, I headed out again-totally fine! Yay.

But two days later - same thing happened, but it came about after just picking up some yard debris in the yard. My yard isn't that big...but I was sweating and heaving and trying to uncompress my chest by walking it out....it didn't work. I came in and laid down-it went away. But I knew this was something, so I made an appt to see a doctor, any doctor, and was able to get an appt within two days. I was really sure that she was under the belief that I was just out of shape and unused to normal exercise, but she referred me to do a stress test, which I was able to schedule for a few days later. I got my results back 3 days after that and was told that my test showed that I most likely have coronary heart disease and I needed to see a cardiologist within the week. The cardiologists office had a cancellation for the next morning, so I took that one...and when I arrived for the consult, he told me that he wanted to admit me to the hospital immediately and that they suspected I have a 70% blockage of a main artery to my heart.

*gasp*

Scary stuff. 

This all happened within a four-week period. It was just barely over a month ago that I was walking through the redwood forest in California!!! And I was TOTALLY fine.

And my cholesterol levels have been checked in the last six months, and were totally normal-just like they were five years ago when I had them checked.
And my blood pressure has never been high, not ever.
And I'm not a smoker, never have been (except for a few times when I pretended to be so I could ask a cute boy at the bar if I could bum a smoke-wonderful pick up line, right?).

So all signs pointed to me having a healthy heart.

Oh, except that pesky family history. Which apparently can account for a lot.

Off I went to the hospital, where I got checked in and was told they wanted to do an angiogram from the right wrist, where they would enter with some magic wirey-tubes and spray some dye into my vein to see where it went when it reached my heart. Surprisingly, there is almost NO pain when doing this and you are kept awake-a bit drugged up, but awake, so I was able to watch it on the screen. I was a bit groggy, but I remember seeing the dye go in one area of the heart and burst out like a firework as the dye was distributed all around, then another area -same thing...and then the third area....total dud. No firework.

They told me I had a 99% blockage of a main artery leaving my heart. 99%, as in just one tiny percentage away from being completely and totally shut down.

They pulled out of my arm and sent me to a room, where a heart surgeon came in and spoke for what seemed like 15 minutes about the procedure for having heart surgery to fix the nearly-fully-blocked artery. But he ended his speech with: I don't think you're a good candidate though, given you are so low risk and you are so young.

I'm 37!!!!!

So the heart surgeon who doesn't know how to communicate good news left and someone else came in and told me they wanted to do an angioplasty to insert a tube into my artery to keep it open and clear. Perfect. But not today, nope, tomorrow worked better. Boo- cancel the beach trip, cancel the bbq with friends.

My mom and my sister had driven like maniacs to be there, and thankfully they were there to keep me company, but more importantly, to stay with Andrew while he waited for news.


We didn't get started until late in the day Friday, which meant I had to stay for another night -but they did the angioplasty on Friday afternoon and considered it a success and sent me home less than 24 hrs later.

And this is my new life now:
drugs drugs and more drugs.


I potentially will have to take these drugs for the rest of my life. Awesome. But I potentially will have a long life-so that really IS awesome.

Within a month time frame, I went from thinking I was 100% normal, to hearing a cardiologist refer to my day as being an "aborted heart attack."

So let this serve as a reminder to all of you - if you ever feel like something just isn't right, or something happens and you can't explain it - especially with your heart (which is VERY necessary for every aspect of life) - go see your doctor!!! 

All signs pointed to me having a normal heart, and aside from the extra weight I carry, I am a low-risk candidate...but here I am, recovering from an aborted heart attack. Crazy, all of this is so surreal.

My mom and sister made sure I was taken care of in the hospital and situated at home after, my son has been my ROCK and is helping me do everything (I can't lift over 5 lbs this week), and my friends have all been so incredibly supportive. My amazing coworkers even brought over meals for the first 4 nights home!

This whole story sucks big time, but there is a happy ending and I really hope you will all remember to take good care of yourselves.

Sundays In My City - Mississippi Street Fair, Portland, OR

It has just been the best weather ever here. Which to me means: less than 85 degrees with a nice breeze, no humidity. And so it was yesterday, when I met up with a couple of lovely ladies:
And about 29998 other people...

View from the north end of the street

View from the south end
There's this neighborhood in North Portland (NoPo) that closes one full street, Mississippi Street, for the day and invites the world to come by and say hi.
The Mississippi Avenue Street Fair is a community-building event that celebrates the neighbors, businesses and organizations that make their home in the Mississippi Avenue neighborhood. The event honors history and tradition while embracing diversity and sustainability. Steeped in tradition and history, Mississippi is a neighborhood and community with a culturally diverse spirit, a sentiment you can feel as you stroll the street. A rich and diverse history expresses itself in an inspiring community of businesses, homes, and neighbors.

It is the most insane neighborhood-planned street fair ever. There are lots of crafts and randomness for sale. I found lots I liked, but limited my purchases to priority items under $10: like fresh popped kettle corn and a small soapstone hippo for my cubicle world.


A lot of local restaurant food was available and we ate at a restaurant that served these wonderful little burgers, like 2/3 the size of a normal burger, but they were a perfect size for lunch and very fresh. Their veggie burger wasn't anything special, but not bad by any means.

The girls tried some deep fried mac-n-cheese balls, which follows the theory that anything good is better when fried. I refrained (I'm guessing they would have ruined my calorie count for the month), but I really wanted one!!


7 billion calories

Happy little Adrienne
 Jimi Hendrix made it to the fair, which was a fun treat.

This guy and his friend were visiting (I cut out his dirty feet from the picture-you're welcome) and hung out to earn some money playing on his sitar (originally from India), something you don't see everyday! It's BIG, but weighs about a pound (he let me hold it). Pretty crazy looking!


This African drum band was there and I nearly invited them to my bbq next week - I LOVE them.

Note that Jay Z also made an appearance...he wore flip flops with jeans. Stylish as ever.

Another funky instrument!


I love how they just lose themselves in the music.

That was my day yesterday - hope you all had an equally wonderful weekend!




Unknown Mami

Things I HeardThis Weekend

Andrew is out of town for the holiday weekend, which means the house was VERY quiet....and I loved it. Just me and the kitties, the house was clean, I barely cooked anything, and I did next to nothing. A perfect weekend.

But on Sunday, I went to a friends house and hung out with a handful of friends. These are some of the random things that were said:
  • I would eat most animals, but not an orangutan or ape.
  • In case of apocalypse, I will eat my cats and then their cat food. (this was a heated debate)
  • Stop jerking it so hard, you have to be more gentle to make it work. (a joystick, you pervs)
  • It's true, glass can get inside you and you will bleed out, so it's better not to have glassware in your kitchen at all.
  • Christianity is based on cannibalism (eat the flesh and drink the blood of christ, ya know).
  • I saw some ducks on I-5, a mama and some babies. They looked like they were taking the 217 exit, which is definitely the wrong one for them...
  • You matched the boobies! (it's a card matching game, you pervs)
  • The orange ghost is named Clyde in Pac-Man, but the name was changed to Sue for Ms. Pac-Man.
  • For ten minutes, a discussion was held about what the appropriate voltage is for an Atari 2600.
  • Another discussion was had about whether a cat should be allowed on one side of the couch, after she has earned a reputation for peeing on the opposite end of the couch.
  • Apartments are now charging a pet rent - because some law changed and they are no longer able to charge a non-refundable pet deposit. Absolute bullshit.
And today, I continued my streak of doing very little, though I did go for a nice mile walk in my neighborhood and enjoyed the perfect weather. I grilled some eggplant, but didn't have parm cheese, I had provolone...and I'm not sure if it was the eggplant I didn't like or the eggplant with provolone - but I ended up throwing it all away-total bummer. Last time, we grilled eggplant with parm and it was delicious.

I also went to Target, where I heard:
  • You saved $14.79 today  - which was 41% of my total bill. I spent 45 min planning for this shopping trip, searching for coupons and planning what to buy based around the sales of the week, which I don't typically do, but I think I might do more often. 
Never eat a monkey. It's genetically almost human.

Hope everyone had a great fourth of July and no harm came from the pyromaniacs who are allowed to play hard (legally) once a year.

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