Weekly Photo Challenge: Simple

Weekly Photo Challenge: Simple

WordPress has a weekly photo challenge at The Daily Post.  This is my contribution.


Simply Magnificent


I recently asked Paul what five places he loved most in America so far (he has been here for nine years this coming March). The Redwoods of Northern California made #1.  We will be making a return visit, in the late spring/early summer.  Do you have a favorite camping spot in the area?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Simple

Caretaker / House and Pet Sitter Generalizations

The Shining (Photo Courtesy of www.ManILoveFilms.com

Last night, I felt like reading a fiction book. I picked up The Three Weissmans of Westport and read it in almost one sitting. I wanted something breezy and am a sucker for anything inspired by Jane Austen (except for Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Graphic Novel.  Not my cup of tea).

My interest was piqued when two sisters who called themselves “home sitters” were introduced to the story. No real spoilers here ~ let’s just say that they didn’t exactly make us caretakers / house and pet sitters proud. As I contemplated this, other books and films featuring “our kind” came to mind, and I pondered the generalizations.

So, out of curiosity, what is the first thought that comes to mind when you think of people who do what we do? Does a certain character from a book or film come to mind, or someone you know personally? If so, please leave a comment. If not, please leave a comment. Thanks!



Weekly Photo Challenge: Simple

39 Things to do Before 40 (Inspired by LifeOhm.com)

Your Story Matters.

I met a Monica at a Portland Bloggers meeting back in September.  We are close in age (I’ve got a little more than a year before hitting the Big 4-0) and she caught my attention with a post titled “39 Things to do Before 40” on her Life Ohm blog.  I responded to her post with the comment you see below:

Thank you for the inspiration, Monica! Sounds like we are about the same age : ) I went with your 39 things to do before 40 theme…

  1. Finish writing our book
  2. Rent an Airstream for at least a week
  3. Get back to England to see Paul’s family & friends
  4. Take an Ayurveda class
  5. Join Toastmasters
  6. Pay off school loans (or at least a good chunk)
  7. Really learn to embroider
  8. Go back to a vegetarian diet
  9. Continue to grow my Beachbody business
  10. Spend more time with my little brother and sister
  11. Take a digital photography class
  12. Build up our Caretaking Couple business
  13. Sell the 4Runner (don’t need it here)
  14. Continue my search for vintage buttons & ephemera
  15. Join ancestry.com with my Mom
  16. Make my own toiletries and candles again (just for fun, not as a biz)
  17. Volunteer for Habitat for Humanity
  18. Get back to my yoga classes (at Exhale)
  19. Start a poker night with new friends
  20. Calligraphy
  21. Polish up on my geography
  22. write a letter a week to a friend, family member, or stranger
  23. Blog on a regular basis (at least 3x a week)
  24. Garden (4 raised organic beds at our new digs – yay!)
  25. Get a monthly massage
  26. Finish my scrapbooking projects
  27. Run
  28. Find a tennis partner
  29. Learn how to play my guitar
  30. Go ziplining
  31. Continue vision boarding
  32. Visit my friend Laura in Valencia, Spain
  33. Treat myself to a spa day (for the first time)
  34. Practice more acts of random kindness
  35. Finally visit Pike Place Market!
  36. Figure out all (or at least most) of the functions on my Mac & use them
  37. Continue to transform our rental house into a “home”
  38. Get into the habit of staying in the moment
  39. Focus on people and projects that bring me joy

I would love to keep in touch with you regarding our lists ~ maybe revisit them periodically. Seems we have a lot in common!


This (like the vision boarding) has been a fun and enlightening process for me, and I encourage you to make your own list.  You don’t have to be turning 40 in order to play ~ just come up with a list of things that you would like to accomplish by a certain date.  And if you feel like sharing said list, please do.

PS I have crossed a few things off since September ~ feels good!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Simple

V’s Vision For 2012

Vision Boarding has become a tradition for me.  I create one every year between Christmas and New Year’s Day. I think I became hooked right around the time that the The Secret was on everyone’s radar (2006).   This is not something Paul is interested in doing for himself, but sharing mine with him is always fun and sure to stimulate some interesting conversation.

Anyone can create a vision board.  All you need is images and/or words (think old magazines,flyers,postcards,maps, etc.), a poster board, and some glue or double-sided tape. I feel that a lot of us aren’t quite sure what it is we want, exactly, and that the process of exploring images and contemplating why certain ones appeal to us more than others can help us to clarify.

This year, my vision board evolved (is evolving, I should say) in a way unlike prior years.  The most noticeable difference was that my chosen images did not revolve around travel as much as they have in the past.  Paul and I are very comfortable and happy here in Portland.  We are curious as ever when it comes to travel, but the conversations revolve more around weekends in Seattle versus month-long road trips across the US.

Fret not, fellow nomads ~ I still dream of buying an Airstream and living/working from the road one of these days. For now, we are loving our little rental home here in NE Portland. We are reacquainting ourselves with old books, having guests over, and planning our backyard garden.  We are wandering Alberta Street, supporting local and befriending our neighbors.

To be honest, my vision board isn’t 100% complete yet.  It has been more of a process for me this year.  I like to have it hanging on the wall by January 1. This time around is different.  My vision for 2012 is still a bit blurred, but each day brings a bit more clarity.  Don’t you just love those Aha! Moments?

I remain enthusiastic around all things Caretaking Couple and Coach Valynne and will be focusing more on my writing, my health (and yours, too if you’d like), and maintaining a steady income.  I will post what that looks like in the comments section below once I have more clarity around it.

And now, because you knew I would ask…what is your vision for 2012 (or your goals, priorities, dreams, resolutions…whatever word you prefer)?  If you feel like sharing, please do.  Meantime, a very HAPPY and HEALTHY 2012 to all of you with love from Valynne & Paul.

PS The handwritten affirmations are from the book You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay.  I have referred to this book off and on since I was a teenager.

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