Category Archives: Reflections

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!

Trumped by Technology, As Usual

It’s amazing how quickly I forget my own actions and am tricked by the way technology connects every part (arguably too many parts) of my life. Take, for instance, the following scenario:

 10:15 a.m. average Tuesday morning in the gray walls of my cubicle

I receive a forwarded email at work from a co-worker about an event in Portland that I might want to attend. My train of thought goes something like this as I skim the text for the basic info, “Oh cool, what day is that? Huh, I don’t know if I can make it… whatever, I’ll just look at it at home when I’m not distracted.”

I proceed to then forward the email from my Microsoft Outlook work email account to my personal, unprofessional-sounding gmail account (which I will likely open on Google Chrome later in my work day when I lose all sense of self-control and check my personal email at work).

45-60 seconds later…

I glance at my smart phone sitting just beyond the reach of my desk phone and coffee cup to see the blinking green light indicating a new notification of some kind.

“Sweet, someone cares about me, wonder who text or emai… wha…? Why is my name on the… Oh, right. I just emailed myself. Damn.”

I wish I could say this hasn’t happened over a dozen times. But if I did say that, I would be lying.

(Let me just email this blog post to myself now that I’ve written it on my work email account.) It’s a vicious cycle.

It’s Time

Yesterday I received an “accountability text” message from my sophomore-year roommate, Meghan, letting me know it’s time to update my blog. I didn’t exactly ask to be held accountable, but I do appreciate that Meghan has taken the initiative to let me know the displeasure of my reader(s–maybe I only have one left?).

I have, I admit, completely failed in the blogging world since my brief moment of WordPress fame. Perhaps it’s because the honeymoon period of having a new job in a new city has worn off. Don’t get me wrong, things are good, it just takes a little more searching to find the meat of the story worth sharing when the 9-5 routine is in full swing. Plus, I’m in charge of the blog at work, so what was once a creative outlet and leisure activity now has a bit of a mandatory feel. But in the midst of any lull I may blame on the daily grind, my competitive nature is surfacing as my business-major friend is about to have prose published before me and my Spanish/Bio major friend is currently maintaining a far better blog with thoughtful reflections on loving and serving others.

So, what have I been doing?

Well, for starters, rather than giving up something for Lent, I’m taking on the daily practice of writing (great, I’ve said it publicly, all sorts of accountability now). I won’t necessarily be writing on my blog (though a few items may surface here eventually), just in my Moleskine whose pages tempt me to fill them with substance. Perhaps the returning daylight and literary activity with my new book club (yes, I feel like a 45-year old when I say that) will offer stimulation.

After the snow fell on Seattle last month, I’ve been trying to find the stashes left to ski in the mountains, namely Mt. Baker and Mt. Hood. Took my first little trip into the backcountry on New Year’s day and have had pretty good success finding some powder this season (but after a season of a half-day skiing at Eagle Crest in Juneau last year, it doesn’t take much to improve).

Not exactly a bluebird day, but no complaints.

Off the mountain, the kitchen has been heating up with new recipes of Kale (who knew greens could taste so good?!), accompanied by Alaskan Amber, and my local Gonzaga basketball-viewing partner, Brittany. What could make for a better Thursday night?

Lucas was jealous...

Last weekend I attended a conference on, you guessed it, justice, hearing speakers like Shane Claiborne, Dr. John Perkins, and Richard Twiss, giving me plenty to think about and making me realize I really need to know more, read at least ten more books within the next month, and probably go to graduate school for peace and justice studies ASAP (unlikely). The weekend also shed light on what the “trendy” justice issues are, sex trafficking and human slavery seem to be the popular injustices worth fighting for these days. Who knew some social justices issues were “cooler” than others? But the quantity of booths and non-profits focused on that work confirmed that I am definitely not with the “cool justice” crowd. I opted out of the chance to buy a $30 dollar t-shirt covered in contemporary art and silk screens of the continent of Africa. I also learned, as I was at an exhibitor booth representing JVC Northwest, that some Protestant individuals don’t think Catholics are Christians. Interesting…I think I need to review some materials from my Religious Studies classes.

In other news, besides thought-provoking conferences, I get to attend the occasional webinar for work to acquire new ideas. Some are better than others:

Helpful review of a 5th grade writing lesson. If only I were 10...

Finally, I’ve adopted the quintessential Portland lifestyle activity: I am a bike commuter. And I kind of love it. It’s a great transition to and from work and as I passed the nearest gas station today and saw the price was $4.05/gallon, it was confirmed that I will be riding my bike every day this week (Dear Wall Street Speculators, Thanks for helping me quit using my car. Love, Liz). This is my favorite (only?) newly acquired possession, and just as Joey, my Subaru, has a name, I’m hoping the right name for my new companion will surface soon–I’m open to suggestions.

This photo looks like it should be for a Craigslist ad, but I'm keeping this baby for a while. Name: Stone? Stony? Eh... it's just not quite right. I need to let the relationship blossom naturally before premature naming.

How’s that Meghan? 🙂

Ok, Fine, It’s Really Snowing in Seattle

I wasn’t willing to admit that a snow storm was probable on Tuesday night when the forecasters said we’d have several inches in Seattle. I insisted on driving up to Seattle from Portland on Tuesday night, my boss allowed it so I could make it up before the storm and still go to my planned events later this week.  The roads were clear almost all the way up I-5 and not a flake existed anywhere in Seattle on Tuesday night.

Even when I woke to about 4 inches yesterday at my parent’s house on Queen Anne, I thought it would  be raining by now.

I can tell this is a rite of passage into adulthood: I’m not sledding and I’m wishing the roads were clear so I could go about my schedule as planned. What happened to racing up and down the hills?! I guess I only do that in the form of downhill skiing now.

I hate to perpetuate the hype, but it is quite literally still dumping in Seattle right now. There have been teasers with freezing rain early this morning, but as of now, it’s just snow, and it’s still falling.

I’ve taken refuge at Bustle Coffee Shop on Queen Anne with several others who are resisting the urge to sled and have laptops open in an attempt to work.

Bustle Coffee Shop is, in fact, bustling with activity as every table is taken with people seeking Wi-Fi and warmth.
People are coming to the frosty door defeated as they see every spot taken already. Sorry!
But the view is still lovely and the people watching is, of course, fabulous.
When I see cross country skis propped against the bakery door, it makes me feel like I'm living in Sun Valley.
And this child, has just about had it with her mom wasting time indoors getting coffee. "Bye, bye... bye Mom..." she keeps saying to her mom at the counter as she swings the door open and closed (letting cold air in). Awesome.

So, whatever Mother Nature, just do what you do and I’ll just keep changing my plans, and learning to enjoy it 🙂

Portland(ia)

Though I have spent more weekends in Washington than in Portland since I “moved” to Oregon, I am slowly beginning to acquire a feel for my new home. When I returned to Seattle for the holidays, many of my friends asked if I was experiencing scenes from “Portlandia,” which I assumed was the “Jersey Shore” of Oregon. I answered the first few inquiries admitting that I had no idea what “Portlandia” was until finally both my mother and my father were discussing it (that’s when you really know you really should make an effect to learn about pop culture) and were more knowledgable about it than I.

Thanks to an article in the New Yorker my mom was culturally literate, and due to a show in Seattle at the Showbox featuring Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen, my dad even heard a local radio report with clips and could recite the skits and themes. How convenient that I moved to a new city right when a popular TV show airs accurately mocking the quirks of my new home?!

After reading the New Yorker article, I was convinced that, perhaps, I did want to see a few clips after all. But, I still approached YouTube searches of “Portlandia” with the same skepticism as I did Bridesmaids thinking there was far too much hype for it to be as good as people kept suggesting. As soon as the opening chords of “Dream of the 90s” played, however, I had to admit: It’s clever and just really funny.

So after dabbling a bit more on YouTube, I got the flavor for the show, just as I’ve slowly gotten the flavor of the city. The morning after watching “Put a Bird on It” I was waiting at Starbucks (I know, so unPortland of me to go there) only to turn around and see some local art on the walls…

Portland Starbucks has "Put a Bird on It."

I also walked into my first bike shop in PDX (I’m not convinced I like that abbreviation) where I encountered one of the more humorous signs I’ve seen in quite a while

Wow, thanks. It's so expensive other places...

During other roamings, I’ve found two identical VW vans just blocks from each other in my neighborhood (yes, I’m sure they’re not the same one) with entertaining messages in their window:

That means you Scott...
"My other car is a pair of boots." Probably XtraTufs.

I think I’ll keep searching to see how many mustard-colored VW vans with white window shutters and yellow curtains I can find in Portland.

And finally, I woke up to this note from my roommate a couple weeks ago, sitting on the kitchen counter:

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Perhaps material for my own version of Portlandia? Thanks, Kateri!

 At first glance, my thought was, “Why is there a drawing of a penis on that paper?” And after sharing the photo with a few friends, Lucas replied, “What is that picture supposed to be? Arousal early in the day?” So look out, Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen, at this rate, I might just have some material of my own.

Places.2011

Time for the annual review of where I’ve spent the last year. Despite living on an island in the north Pacific for eight months of 2011, I managed to fit in some roamings and spend the night in a few fabulous places:

Sitka, AK*
Anchorage, AK*
The Shrine of St. Therese, Auke Bay, AK
Douglas, AK*
Salmon Lake, Tongass National Forest, AK
Bethel, AK
Samsing Cove, Tongass National Forest, AK
Juneau, AK
Fairbanks, AK
Denali Park, AK
M/V Kennicott, Alaska Marine Highway, Juneau, AK to Bellingham, WA
Seattle, WA*
Camano Island, WA*
The Enchantments, Alpine Lakes Wilderness, WA
Columbia, MO*
Chicago, IL
Bowling Green, KY
Comer, GA
St. Louis, MO
Spokane, WA
Lynn, MA
Groton Long Point, CT
Vancouver, WA
Portland, OR*
Bellingham, WA
 

25 different places (tied with 2010)

8 different states (Alaska is a big one, ok?)

new states visited: 0

1 country (or does sailing through Canadian waters count?)

*indicates repeat visit

IMG_0058
Alpine Lakes Wilderness, WA
Wedding Day
Most Beautiful Farm in the World: Jubilee, Comer, GA
Salmon Lake in the Afternoon
Salmon Lake, Tongass National Forest, AK
Whale Tail, Square in New London
Whale Park, New London, CT