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.
February: Back to Southeast Alaska for work and the opportunity to see friends in Sitka.
March: Let’s play JEOPARDY! (That’s my mom.)
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
May: Met this guy, Dave Matthews, you may have heard of him.
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).
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.
August: Road trip! Packed up and left it all (again). Vermont-bound, but not before a stop at the best brewfest ever. Thanks, Bend!
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.
October: New England autumn proves worthy of its reputation. Cider. More cheese. More reading assignments.
November: Drew some Econ graphs, wrote some papers. Spent time with new friends who somewhat resemble lawn gnomes.
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.
January 2014: The sun has set on a semester of grad school. A jaunt to Barbados awaits . . .
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!
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:
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.
A fabulous return visit to Southeast kicked off summer in the most appropriate fashion!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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!
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!
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?
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.
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.”
“One woman. Two nations,” was his rather witty reply.
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.
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!
Today it was confirmed that I am not a terrible runner.
I’ve had a love/hate/hate/hate/love relationship with running for about 10 years and besides one brief attempt at running the St. Patrick’s Day Dash in Seattle as a high school freshman (with Annie Mesaros, who dragged me along because she was just so excited to be on the Edmonds-Woodway XC team), I have never run in any races. And I’m not really sure why? I even managed to live in Spokane four years and escape the Bloomsday run. But today, my no-race legacy ended when I was further initiated into being a Portlander by participating in the 34th Annual Shamrock Run with 32,000 other crazy people.
Talk of the Shamrock Run surfaced among my roommates in early January with all sorts of aspirations for group training sessions and a whiteboard chart in the house documenting our weekly mileage. We immediately named ourselves appropriately–Team 2512 (our house number)–and signed up online paying $30 to get up early one Sunday morning in the distant future and run a length never before achieved: 15k.
As you may have predicted while reading the previous paragraph, the hopeful January ambitions were quickly altered when the whiteboard remained at the bottom of the basement steps untouched and two of my roommates registered for the 8k, rather than the 15k. But, I had acted too quickly signing up online, and I refused to turn back now; I was running the 15k, and worst of all, I was actually telling people about it.
So my usual routine of 30-minute morning runs a few times a week continued, but my roommate, Shereen, began suggesting longer weekend runs with big hills. Knowing that I had paid $30 and March 18 was now circled on the calendar in big red marker (metaphorically, of course), I struggled to find excuses of why I couldn’t accompany her.
Ran the whole thing without stopping, my time: 1:31:34, pace: 9:50.
I’m not exactly setting world records, but I will call it a personal best. My breathing and heartrate stayed low, and I stayed, mentally, very positive.
In fact, I may have experienced the endorphine post-run high, because I was smiling through the last 2 miles, high-fiving every little kid standing on the side cheering because they were just too cute, and at the finish (when I assumed I would be keeled over wanting to die) I was… fine. I mean, I definitely felt like I had run, but, it felt great! After abandoning Shereen on the first major hill at the four mile mark (even though I said I wanted to run the whole thing together, I’m a terrible running partner!), she crossed the finish line two minutes after me and we shared an attempted-high-five-turned-hug to celebrate and congratulate one another one the longest either of us had ever run.
My other roommates completed their 8k successfully and I had a beer in hand at 10:15a.m. I mean, it was part of the deal signing up, so I indulged for novelty’s sake, but who really wants a beer on a Sunday morning after running 9.3 miles? A lot of people apparently, but I stomached 2/3 and called it good-enough.
So when’s my next race? Don’t worry, I’ve already been asked and invited to run a marathon in June. Let’s not get too crazy just yet. I’ll keep you posted.