2013: The Blogless Year

January: What to do with a new year? Apply to grad school and watch Zags basketball, obviously. Submitted my application to SIT Graduate Institute and cheered on my #1 boys.

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Go Zags.

February: Back to Southeast Alaska for work and the opportunity to see friends in Sitka.

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Dock. Walk. Talk.

March: Let’s play JEOPARDY! (That’s my mom.)

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Final JEOPARDY: “What is Hail to the Chief?”

April: Made a documentary. Met great people, shared the story of good friends, screened it at a theater with 300 people in attendance. Folks at NW Documentary–you’re beautiful. Oh, you want to see it? Fathoming A Future

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May: Met this guy, Dave Matthews, you may have heard of him.

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I love you, Dave. Thank you, Brittany.

June: A mess of a month, but I had the chance to spend my grandma’s final days with her in Missouri (and learned I look exactly the same as when I was three years old).

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Some things don’t change.

July: Quit my job (bye JVC Northwest, it’s been good!). Trekked 93 miles around Mt. Rainier on the Wonderland Trail. Would I do it again? Yeah, I think I would. Didn’t love every moment of it, but damn that cold Rainier beer tasted good at the end. Thanks to Brian and Aunt Christy for the Trail Talk.

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Hey, Mt. Rainier. Let’s take a look at you from all angles.

August: Road trip! Packed up and left it all (again). Vermont-bound, but not before a stop at the best brewfest ever. Thanks, Bend!

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Up top! Farewell with Portland party peoples in Bend, Ore.

September: Turns out I decided to forfeit my income and work really hard going back to school in Vermont. Honeymoon phase of all new people in a new place. Delicious cheese. And reading assignments.

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Obligatory first day of school (jumping) photo.

October: New England autumn proves worthy of its reputation. Cider. More cheese. More reading assignments.

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After growing up in Seattle, I didn’t know fall days could be sunny.

November: Drew some Econ graphs, wrote some papers. Spent time with new friends who somewhat resemble lawn gnomes.

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A lawn gnome and his friend, Preston.

December: Completed my first semester of grad school. Many hours spent attempting to define sustainability. And a little stop by Yale to see a man deserving of the descriptor “inspirational,” Mr. Wendell Berry, of course.

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Story time with a great man.

January 2014: The sun has set on a semester of grad school. A jaunt to Barbados awaits . . .

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Snowfall concludes a semester on the hill.

Happy New Year!

 

 

Places.2012

I’ll follow-up a year of crappy blogging with an annual tradition: the list of places I spent the night throughout the year. I may not have Facebook, but why not still offer the highlight reel of my year on the Internet like every other shameless individual? (Please, don’t answer that.) 2012 was the first year since high school that I have not changed residence at some point during the calendar year. The year was primarily spent in the Northwest, but I managed a few strategically-crafted adventures outside the cubicle. Here’s to improvement in 2013!

Bellingham, WA* 

Seattle, WA*

Portland, OR*

Camano Island, WA

Fircrest, WA

Spokane, WA*

Juneau, AK

Haines, AK

Sitka, AK

Mason Lake, WA

Lake Cavanaugh, WA

Cannon Beach, OR

Camp Adams, Mollala, OR

Driggs, ID

Gros Ventre Campground, WY

Jackson Lake Lodge, Moran, WY

Gorge Amphitheater, George, WA

Goat Rocks Wilderness, WA

Whidbey Island, WA

Camp Ghormley, Naches, WA

Culver City, CA

Columbia, MO*

Comer, GA

total different places: 23 (2 fewer than 2011)

different states visited: 8 (tied with 2011)

new states visited: 0

countries: 1

*indicates a repeat visit

Brief Rest, Great View
Mt. Shuksan, WA – April 2012
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Goat Rocks Wilderness, WA – September 2012
Kids Bringing Offering to the Altar
Jubilee’s Abundance, Comer, GA – Thanksgiving 2012
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The Cider Makin’ Crew, Portland, OR – November 2012
LP, gg, LC at GTNP
The Most Tourist-y Shot Possible (Had to Happen), GTNP – August 2012

Let’s Catch Up

Well, I’ve had quite a few complaints about the state of my blog. And I, of course, have no excuse except to admit that I simply have not sat down to post in far too long. When it’s sunny outside, my productivity levels regarding anything computer related drop dramatically. So let’s catch up…

Summer 2012 was an absolutely exhausting and awesome run around. For the first time in the last twenty years of my life, autumn arrives without a major transition; I’m not headed back to school, not moving, no end of season work. I’m just continuing where I’m at and, for now, that’s just right. With end-of-summer fatigue, I’m digging into the depths of my bottom drawer and lovingly putting on my fleece pants one grateful leg at a time. But before the rain returns and the monochrom days greet me with each glance out the window, here are a few summer highlights:

May/June:

At the end of May/beginning of June, I made my return to the great state of Alaska, rendezvousing with Ms. Lisa Colella, JV friend from Juneau and fellow-beerfest extraordinaire. The trip was a nice jaunt around Southeast, starting and ending in Juneau, with a quick trip to Haines for the Great Alaska Craft Beer and Home Brew Festival and revisiting Baranof Island and my friends in Sitka.

Cheers!
Just practicing a little wood chopping in preparation for the sauna with Meg. Obviously a total success.
With mountains that size, Haines is an easy town to fall in love with immediately.

A fabulous return visit to Southeast kicked off summer in the most appropriate fashion!

July:

Back in the Northwest and able to spend some time with family and friends, I did what any Northwest native would do at low-tide in the month of July: geoduck hunting.

Family friend, Justice Wiggins, and I tactfully dug our hole around our geoduck victim.
Observing is an important aspect of supporting the geoduck diggers.
This guy was quite tasty. Oh yeah, we eat them after a nice quick boil.

With low tide on the third of July, geoduck hunting was quickly followed up with patriotic celebrations for the fourth of July at my good friend’s, Ms. Kelly Noland, cabin on the Olympic Peninsula.

Please note the proper celebratory components of sunshine, a boat ride, a patriotic halo and, let’s be honest, the beginning of a severe sunburn.

July also brought celebrations of the return of Mr. Scott Hippe to the U.S. and of his acceptance to med school with some rather quality GU folks at the Hippe cabin on Lake Cavanaugh. Those pictures are all over Facebook, which, of course, means that I haven’t seen them at all.

And no summer could be complete without a marathon of visitors coming through Portland, beginning with none other than Mr. Lucas Sharma, who, as of the end of August, has entered the novitiate to become a Jesuit priest.

Mr. Lucas Sharma (showing his Jesuit education pride) and me in Hood River, OR

August: On the eve of orientation for 140 new Jesuit Volunteers for work, our busiest time of year, I left work promptly on my birthday, August 2nd, after a month of secret phone calls and texts, to surprise my best friend, Brittany at her family beach house in Cannon Beach, OR to celebrate her engagement!

Congrats to Brittany and Abby, a wonderful excuse to be back with the original beach girls, Tab and Tif!
Abby honored the fact that she was sharing her carefully planned engagement day with my birthday by providing me with a lovely celebratory tiara–which I wore proudly.

Mr. Ian Roeber also arrived in Portland to work for JVC Northwest as the recruiter this year and found a happy little home in the basement of my house in Portland for the few weeks he is at our office, not on the road. After engagement celebrations and a full week of camp at JVC Northwest orientation, Ian and I had the brilliant idea of starting a hike in the gorge at 1p.m. on a 95 degree day.

Hot and sweaty. Trying to show enthusiasm at the top of Dog Mountain.

And since hiking the gorge is good, but not quite magical, why not take my comp days for work from our time at orientation and make a quick trip to Grand Teton National Park? I called upon my trusty travel companion, Lisa, and we hopped in the car for a wondrous long weekend in the Tetons.

Lisa and I managed to visit Ms. Gina Graziano, my roommate from Sitka, during her first week at the Teton Science School. We even found ourselves in my old stomping grounds pictured here at Jackson Lake Lodge.
Buffalo out my window. Just another day in Jackson Hole.
A rather perfect morning on Jackson Lake. What’s up Mt. Moran?
And I managed to see my former hiking buddy (and boss) from my summers in Grand Teton, Mr. Brian Bultema. With one full day on our short trip dedicated to hiking, I picked one of my favorite trails, and Brian and I found ourselves burning some serious calories on the way up to Lake of the Crags.
This picture doesn’t even begin to capture the greatness of Lake of the Crags. Topping out around 10,000 feet, my sea-level lungs were burning. And it felt amazing.
A rather perfect post-lunch, mid-hike snooze never felt so good.

After wrapping up our final day in Jackson with a trip to Snake River Brewery and attending an Andrew Bird concert that evening, Lisa and I (insanely) hopped in the car at 11p.m. and drove out of Wyoming, through Montana in the middle of the night, took a quick nap in a parking lot in Missoula, and cruised through Idaho and eastern Washington to arrive in Olympia, Washington the next afternoon where we surprised Lucas at his going away party.

I suppose the 15 non-stop hours and driving through the night wondering if we were going to hit a deer was worth it. I am severely sleep-deprived in this photo, but how could I pass up a gathering with these beautiful people?

September:

Finally, I rolled into September, running on fumes, ready to reclaim my summer finale tradition after a couple missed years: a trip to the Gorge Amphitheater to see Dave Matthews Band over Labor Day weekend.

Standard scene during the day at the Gorge Campground.
Standard scene in the evening inside the Gorge Amphitheater.

However, despite having GA tickets for the shows, I only viewed the stage from this distance on Friday night. On Saturday, I had the most epic live music experience of my life, when I made it (not by following all of the rules) to the pit standing area on the floor about seven standing rows from the stage. I could see Dave’s sweat stains. And he played a glorious set with many of my favorites. It was magical (apologies to Patrick Noland for ditching, which I know I will never live down).

He was so close.

So just when I thought summer was really over…

I headed up the familiar route of I-5 to Seattle this past weekend, where I officially wrapped up my summer with a trip to the Mariner’s game. Because what summer could be complete without a trip to the ballpark? Thanks to Mr. Brian Hensley and his very entertaining family for a trip to Safeco Field!

Watching the game was a top priority.
Letting out our inner-Mariner Moose after a 6-3 victory against the Texas Rangers.

Ok, so that’s why I haven’t been posting on my blog. I was also working 40-hours a week (most weeks) amidst the run around. But bring on the rain and the chai tea and the wool leggings, because I am ready! Thanks to all who contributed to my fabulous (exhausting and awesome–see?) summer and, thanks Meghan for still reading my blog and not unsubscribing!

Cheers to Summer 2012!

Questions of the Non-Native Bike Commuter in Portland, OR

Shit, did anyone see that?

Am I feeling sweat or mist on my face?

Do Oregon STOP signs actually say, “STOP. And wait for every other lane to go. Twice?”

Is it possible to simultaneously bike and drink coffee?

What the hell is that sme–ew, is it compost pick-up day?

Did that driver with the “SHARE THE ROAD” license plate just cut me off?

Where the hell did this hill come from?

How is it possible to be this sweaty after 18 minutes on a bike?

Will the calories burned on this bike ride cancel out the calories from my late-night Voodoo doughnut consumption?

What happens if one of my tires catches in the MAX light rail track?

Did I just ride by Carrie Brownstein?

Wonder how many drivers can see my crack?

How can he even pedal in jeans that tight?

Can’t believe I’m missing Morning Edition, wonder what they are talking about on NPR right now?

Did he just give me the fellow-bike-commuter-head-nod-of-approval?!

Ohhhh… or was he just trying to hide his hipster laughter because my helmet is securely fastened and my lights are flashing in broad daylight while he bikes in dark colors with his emo bangs flowing freely?

Are those tattoos, or is her arm actually blue?

How effective is the padding in those bike shorts?

Is there some sort of etiquette about biking through funeral processions?

When people use the term “drafting,” is this what they’re talking about?

What makes curved handlebars so much sexier than straight handlebars?

Is that hideous, gear-crunching noise coming from my bike?

How long are brakes supposed to last exactly?

When I arrive at my destination am I supposed to leave my right pant leg rolled up?

Bikers are supposed to treat STOP signs as suggestions, right?

At what point is riding on the sidewalks frowned upon?

What exactly constitutes a flat tire?

Did I remember my re-useable shopping bags today?

Joey Turns 100,000

Of all the men in my life, Joey has, without a doubt, been the most faithful and given me the least trouble. And yesterday, he turned 100,000.

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Joey has been with me during, arguably, my most formative years. He took me to high school graduation and delivered me home from college for countless holiday visits. He taught me, sometimes unforgivingly, how a clutch really works. He’s stuck with me during snowstorms in Wyoming, humidity in Georgia, and fog on the coast of Maine.

He’s seen me at my worst–crying and snotty-faced while driving away from someone or somewhere I love. And he’s seen me at my best–windows down, hair blowing, shades on, iced-coffee sweating in the cup-holder with Dave Matthews propelling us to the next undiscovered adventure.

He’s accompanied me to my first day of my first real job.

He knows all my favorite songs and happens to think I’m a fine singer.

He tolerates my road-rage and impatience without complaint.

He’s seen a few different boys in the passenger seat, but knows he’s the one taking me home at night.

He’s pooped out on me only once and that’s just because he needed a jump to recharge; he’s never left me stranded.

We all have a few bumps and bruises, and Joey is no different. He has a few love-marks from when I’m at my most dangerous reversing at 2-4mph in a crowded parking lot.

We simply understand each other. For that, and for my father who let me commandeer the 2005 Subaru Impreza that he intended to be his own, I am grateful.

Two loves: Joey and the Tetons

Seattle vs. Portland

My complex internal battle of homegrown Washington loyalty and current Oregon residence culminated today: I attended my first Portland Timbers soccer game. The opponent? The Seattle Sounders, of course.

Not only was this my first Timbers game, this was my first Sounders game since they joined Major League Soccer in 2007. When I left Seattle for college, the Sounders were on par with the Thunderbirds as the least popular sports team in the city. Perhaps the Sonics departure to Oklahoma City after the 2007-2008 season left Seattle-sports fans with an itch that needed to be scratched–perfect timing for the Sounders to flourish.

I conveniently volunteered myself to attend the Timbers vs. Sounders game for free when a friend won tickets and couldn’t go. I didn’t know, however, that this game would only fuel my inner turmoil.

Thanks, Kelly!

Heading back from a weekend in Washington, I negotiated Sunday afternoon I-5 slowdowns and managed to rendezvous with fellow sports fan, Kevin. I strategically chose a green t-shirt to wear, a shade of green that neither matched the Timbers or Sounders jerseys, but left me, and others, questioning exactly whose side I was on.

I have approximately one friend in Seattle who passionately cares about the Sounders so I sent him the following photo with no previous explanation of my whereabouts saying only, “So conflicted about who to cheer for.”

Jeld-Wen Field, Timbers vs. Sounders

“One woman. Two nations,” was his rather witty reply.

Exactly.

At this point in the game, the Timbers Army (left side of photo, approximately two and half times the size of “the Kennel” for all your Zags fans out there) had performed many of their pre-arranged cheers, but not without a solid counter-effort by drunk Sounders fans occupying the section to our right.

Timbers Army Song Sheet

Though it will be a while before I’m cheering along with the “Army,” chants of “P-T” *clap-clap* “F-C” *clap clap* stirred my enthusiasm to offer a few yells of encouragement for the Timbers.

“We’ve made a Timbers fan out of you!” Kevin proclaim, to which I could only respond that one must adapt to their surroundings–It was survival of the fittest, after all.

With the Timbers up 2-0 at the half, I admitted that my indecision was causing me to be a fair-weather fan.

Call it indecision. Call it adaptation. Either way, the Timbers won 2-1 after a few testosterone-induced squabbles in the 90th minute.

No taunts were thrown my way as we exited the stadium, but the victory wasn’t quite as sweet either with my lukewarm commitment. I am, however, one step further along in my Portland initiation process (no telling what else might be on the list–a forearm tattoo of a bird in a tree? or inked ivy winding up my leg? Unlikely.) And there are certainly worse ways to spend a sunny summer Sunday afternoon than with a local micro-brew in hand and rival teams battling to the finish!

It’s the End…

Of the month and I hate going a whole month without posting. So, here’s my attempt for a post in April before May takes over. Heavy on the photos, but aren’t blogs supposed to be visually appealing anyway?

I started the month off right with a trip up to Mt. Baker for a little backcountry skiing to finish off a rather epic ski season. Contrary to what the ski area name might suggest, this is Mt. Shuksan on an absolute bluebird day.
Just a little rest before making a couple laps, had to soak up the view, after all. Despite multiple attempts at sunscreen application, my face experienced the first roasting of the changing season.
We skinned out to a back bowl and found ourselves some tasty turns on a north-facing aspect. Lange leads the way out of the bowl as we admire our picture-perfect S-turns off to the right. There's a little pocket of space somewhere between powder and sky that you find yourself in while making those turns, and if heaven is accessible in this life, no doubt that's where it exists.
After wrapping up on the mountain, headed home to celebrate Easter with the cutest cousins possible: Kaila and Ripley in their matching purple Easter dresses. Yes, the Easter bunny delivered enough chocolate to keep these two running in circles.
Event Headquarters at Seattle U, preparing the day before my biggest event of the year for work, a brunch in Campion Ballroom for 250+ guests. It was garden party themed in honor of Earth Day, can you tell?
Mom and I took a spontaneous trip to Skagit Valley to see the tulips. The photos look the same every year, but are somehow still obligatory.
The squishy, trampoline-like mud throughout the tulip fields (so cool) and a look inside a tulip--offers a bit of contrast.
Sadly, my roommate Shereen moved out and back to Canada--stupid visas requirements! Team 2512 is now down a man, but we're managing...barely.
For once, I wasn't the one leaving. And in no way did I envy this packing situation.
My former housemate from Sitka, Gina (who now lives in Hillsboro, OR as a second year JV) and I took an afternoon for Gorge exploring. We strolled our way down Old Highway 30, stopping at Vista House for this lovely little view.

Not too bad for an average month full of work. Promise to be more reflective and less reporting next time!

As mom says, "Gather up as many good experiences as possible. It increases your chances of being a pleasant old person."

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