Don't Go Chasing Waterfalls - OR

There is a beautiful hike we did in Oregon that was called "Trail of 10 falls." It was the perfect way to end our last day in Oregon and a great hike.

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We went chasing, and watching, and sitting in awe.

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Seriously how do people write about waterfalls without quoting TLC?

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Don't go chasing waterfalls. Please stick to the rivers and the lakes that you're use to.

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You're gonna have it your way or nothing at all.

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Handsome had a great time. Even if he was chasing waterfalls.

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I also lost my mind every time I saw a squirrel on the trail. You would think we don't have squirrels in Illinois.

-Tomato chased waterfalls and badly quoted TLC


Family Across the US and Visiting

My sister and I weren't always friends. There was a point in my life when my young, cheery, bright attitude, didn't mesh well with her well organized teenage certainty. Okay I'm lying. I was five years younger than her and I was annoying AF. She however, had little room for someone who wanted to play Christmas Carols in July. So really this is equally at fault. I mean who doesn't love a little holiday cheer in July. Am I rite?

Anyway. My sister and I have grown closer with time. We have learned to lean on each other in moments of uncertainty and to celebrate with each other in moments of joy. She's the one I call when I need a quick pick me up or a piece of activist advice.

Living across the US is best (she's still not into July holiday tunes) because when we do meet up it's purposeful and it's full.

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I like to think handsome took this photo because the second we were in the same space it was a rattling of conversation. It also might be that we look very similar. Or he was laughing at me. I think the first one is a far more beautiful reason to take a photo.

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Another reason my sister and I have grown closer is because of food. I can always count on my sister to find food that warms the soul and kicks tastebuds. Here we went to a very fancy donut place. They have fresh made cake donuts that you dip in the sauces of their creation. I was a big fan of the classic chocolate with peanut butter. Handsome loved the lemon something. Nicole loved fresh strawberry flavor for July.

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Then we headed to J's Fish. I've been here before when I visited the year before. I had been dreaming of it since then. You see I really like fish. I don't get to eat it much living in the lake-less part of midwest. I ate more than my share of fish. I would be lying if I didn't say I was eyeing Carmen's left over shrimp. I was politely offered their leftovers, but politely declined, because I would have eaten it all. 

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We did more than just eat. Okay only because Handsome was with me. I would have been okay hopping from one food location to the next. Handsome wanted to hike. Okay I wanted to hike too. Okay so Nicole wanted to hike too.

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We went to see the Devil's punchbowl. We went to see the coast. We saw a lot of really cool things.
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We saw a lava rock beach.

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I spent some time in silence. Listening to the rocks.

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I also got to look at SCIENCE. Here was I before touching a starfish!

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I also got to touch the food that otters eat. This practically makes me an otter. Which practically makes me adorable.

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Then we went to the Oregon Country Fair. It was an experience. This was a tree of loving wishes. I was mean to listen to my heart and ask it what it wished for. I placed my heart wish with all the others. I felt a bit like I was walking away with part of my heart exposed. It was an interesting exercise.

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It was a beautiful trip. I wouldn't have changed anything about it.

-Tomato Travels


Turning a House into a Home

We bought a house a little over a year ago. I posted about it, I told you I didn't have a name for her. I think her name is home, but we've been working on making it that way. I'm not sure that the name fits quite yet, but we are working diligently to make it home.

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It's big and open. Or it was when we first bought it. It's since become a little full. (And looking at this picture... a little more empty... more on that later)

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We've taken down the wall paper and painted. We've fallen in love with the stairs that our someday family will pose for prom on.
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I've cursed this kitchen more than Nate can count. Things I haven't cooked since being in this house:

  • Homemade ketchup
  • Pasta
  • Pantry Meals
  • Much of anything

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This room doesn't even exist anymore. At least not in any form that this looks like. It's now something closer to this:
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You'll notice the paneling is gone, the hallway is created, and our someday master bathroom is framed out.

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I slept in classier joints when I was in college.

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We're closer now than ever to calling her home and knowing it's the right fit. Handsome fell in love with this house the second he saw it. I cried for an entire day because I knew the kitchen would never feel like home, and it hasn't.

Which is why we're making even more changes to make it feel like home. More to come.


Vacation Tomato

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Vacation tomato reads a lot of books.

She sits in large comfy dresses.

She snuggles with dogs.

She sits on slow moving boats.

She listens to quiet music.

I miss that vacation tomato.


I Went on Vacation Once

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We stayed in a nice tiny cabin.

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It was just small enough and exactly what we needed. 

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We took a quick kayak trip around the cliffs. We were in the cold and kayaking around. It was great.

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I found a great little brewery in Door County. I sat. I read. I ate a cheese plate. I slowed down. 

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There was some good old fashion twin time.

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We went somewhere quiet and calm. I tried to take some deep breaths and take it all in. 

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-Tomato trying to remember vacation.


Quilt Inspiration: Yosemite Edition

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There was a lot of really interesting patterns in nature that I would like to see created into a quilt. Here is a black and white quilt with a sudden and intense concentration of black and white.

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Here's a quilt that is separated by a solid line.


Yosemite

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My sister and I recently did a sister trip where we went to Yosemite National Park.

There was a point in my life when I would have considered this a death sentence. I will let you know, I am well past that point. This trip was a great trip.

 

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My sister is an amazing person and I'm really grateful to have her in my life. She's my constant encouragement to be a better person, ally, and feminist. She's one of the most open hearted persons I know. 

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We heard this guy speak not just once, but twice. It was great. He's the park ranger you think of when you think of park ranger awesomeness. I was really excited that we were able to hear him talk.

 

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Sure we walked 8 miles in the wrong direction this day. But we did find where one of John Muir's homes were. 

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This amazing woman who took this picture kindly told me I had my camera set to manual focus. The pictures became much easier to take after this. And she took a great photo of my sister and I.

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The second time we saw Shelton Johnson we were on a guided snow shoe walk.
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Snowshoeing is not easy.

We almost did a backpacking trip. That would have required 20 miles of snowshoeing. I'm glad we didn't do that trip.

The trip was really great though. I could go back again and again.

-Tomato


Flourishing and Living

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Each leaf on my tree is a survivor of domestic violence or sexual assault. It's a beautiful representation of the difficulty of being a part of a community no one wants to be a part of.

No one wants violence to happen. No one wants violence to happen to people we love. No one wants violence to happen to them. That doesn't stop it from happening. There is no magical rule or protection we can give people to not face violence.

I carry my leaves to remember that there is a community of women that are standing up and saying that what happened to them is not okay. The voice might shake, it might be small, but there is a community out there. That community stands with survivors and is working hard to create larger systemic, cultural, and legal changes.

I'll be adding more leaves this spring. I'll be carrying more people with me. I'll keep seeing leaves out of the corner of my eyes and think of people. People who are beautiful. People who are complicated. People who are strong. People are kind. People who are not alone.

-Tomato