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Inspired new beginnings

It’s almost 4pm January 16th and I’m watching ice rain come down as the weather promised. I was hoping we’d get snow to make up for the snow that was promised the other day, but I won’t complain as long as we don’t lose power and a tree doesn’t fall through my house. I know I’m not the only one with PTSD from the ice storm a few years ago, or even a few days ago for some people who did lose power and had a tree fall through their house, and much worse for some others. For now though, I feel safe. The cats are snuggled on my bed and I’m cozy on my loveseat watching the birds scramble for the last of the seed before the weather gets too bad and night falls. The hummingbirds also come more often to fill their belly as the dark envelopes and I check their feeders one last time to make sure the warming packets are still keeping them defrosted. Every morning the little hummers return after nights like this feels like a miracle.


The weather has given me an unwanted vacation. I am grateful to be able to work from home but my ‘work’ still has to travel to me and most people aren’t equipped to drive on ice. I was going a little stir-crazy today, so slapped on my never-worn crampons I bought last year and went for an amazingly peaceful walk on the trail outside my house. I moved by the way! That’s the main reason for this blog, but I’ll get back to that later. These crampons are amazing! It is a solid skating rink of ice out here and these make it feel like walking on gravel, but gravel that never slips. My apologies to my Aunt Jayne if she’s reading this. I took her to Silver Falls last Winter and left the crampons at home, so we hung onto dear life to an ice-encased railing while sliding down the ice trail. We did get some gorgeous pics though! Here’s a less gorgeous pic I took on my icy walk overlooking my more local and beloved Willamette Falls.

This trail that is now right in my front yard is Old Canemah Park and a friend of mine showed it to me for the first time last year. I knew of the newer Canemah Children’s Park and all of its trails but not this little local loop that’s a 5-minute walk downhill from that one. I remember my friend and I admiring all the houses in what was always my favorite neighborhood in Oregon City. Little did I know I walked past what was to be my future home.


But here I am now in my little cottage bungalow overlooking the Willamette River through a misty sky. The massage studio is on the left. It’s the next morning. We made it through another frozen night and the regular ‘ol familiar Oregon rain is starting to come down to hopefully melt this thick layer of ice. I’m watching this song sparrow sing her song of celebration.


I too am feeling celebratory. I should have a full schedule this weekend and there are still a lot of people that haven’t seen my new space. I sold my old house November 30th and opened here December 1st and as you’ll see in the following pics, I worked until the very end to get it ready. I closed on this Canemah property August 16th and thought I would have plenty of time to slowly move and get the studio ready. Hehe. HA! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! No. I had some offers of help and I’m so grateful for the gestures, but the timing didn’t work out for some things and for others, I had to hire contractors and just do a lot of the work myself. It’s still not done but I’m proud of the beautiful space it’s become. Of course I still wanted the nature feel inside as well as out, but also wanted to bring an Italian aesthetic. Fortunately I already had a lot of art and furniture from my old house to use, and with a little artistic skill, I hand textured and painted everything to look like old stucco. Many people asked if ‘the tree’ was coming, and the answer is yes! It got a little skinnier in the move but it’s dressed in its Winter best. The big aquarium and all the plants and fish also safely made it, and it’s looking better than ever with its natural gravel makeover. I still have baseboards and trim to put in – and an entire bathroom! – but for now, the space is finito! And bellissimo.

 

Time to make some fresh nectar for the hummers…

 

Here’s the inside of the studio! Then and now...


I don’t have a true beginning pic to show you but this is exactly 1 month before I opened. It was a workshop and had nothing but plywood and partial pieces of insulation in unfinished walls as well as some old wiring. I had to have contractors do some framing, put in drywall, upgrade the electrical and put in a mini split. I did some of the taping/mudding, all of the texture, paint and flooring. Here I’m starting the texture and happy that it seems to be going well.


The bandana didn’t last long. Things got messy quick – and serious, as I had to buy a chop saw and goggles in order to cut the floor planks. The goggles were also good for keeping mud out of my eyes while texturing the ceiling!


Here’s the studio with a few layers of paint with many more still to go, as well as some of the flooring unloaded from my car. Three weeks until opening and I was feeling the stress BIG TIME. Not only was there still so much work to do here, but my old house which was being sold had a deceiving amount of packing and cleaning to be done as well. And of course I was still working so time and energy was limited. I was also worried the sale was going to fall through and I was bleeding money to get all this work done.



This was November 30th, ONE DAY until I was to give my first massage in here! It was also closing day on my old house. It officially sold! And as claustrophobic as this looks, I felt like I could breathe again. A friend of mine reached out that they happened to be in the area and could stop by for an hour. The timing couldn’t have been better as they helped me move some heavy things and brought me a much needed latte. I still can't believe I pulled it off.


 

And this is my studio now…





 



I wanted to show a close-up of the texture. There are about 5 layers of paint here including gilded gold.


I also swirled the gold on part of the ceiling.  I didn’t know I was going to do that until I did it, but I love the way it turned out.



And this my friends – is your beautiful bathroom complete with real ice cold water for hand washing! :) For now. Hopefully I will have a bathroom just as beautiful as the studio in the Spring, but right now I’m not even connected to the sewer, and that is a story for another time.


I hope you’ve enjoyed these pics of the journey. I wanted to post this on the Solstice, then on New Year’s, but these things can’t be forced and it just took a few days of quiet, and more importantly, inspiration from nature, always nature, to have it come through. I appreciate everyone’s support and encouragement in what has been a very long sought-after and difficult transition. I plan on being here forever, being a steward of this land, and giving a lot more massages in this Italian-inspired garden overlooking the river. I hope 2024 is the best year for us all and I look forward to sharing this magical space with you!

 

Ci vediamo negli alberi ~

(see you in the trees)


Yours,

Jae

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