Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Head South for Winter

Just as the seasonal clock struck Winter, it was time for me to head home. My flight was scheduled to leave the Portland Airport at 3 on Monday, and I wanted to get there by noon (in expectation of long lines), so I left home at 9 am. After a fretful goodbye to Luna (fretful on her part, but she was satiated with a bone), I packed up my car and left. About 20 miles north of Eugene, it started snowing quite a bit. Then the snow was sticking. Then there was ice, and I was beginning to just see snow. It was about this time that everyone started driving slowly, so I decided to pull over and put my chains on. After a few F bombs, I managed to get them on and only cut hand a little in the process.

After a 4.5 hour trip, an accidental detour through downtown Portland (where I almost got stuck in a snowdrift of three feet), I made it to the airport! The lines at the Southwest counter were painfully long, but my airline, American Airlines, had no lines. Since I had extra time (my flight had been delayed an hour), I stopped to eat half a sandwich. Then I geared up for what I expected to be an hour wait in the security check. But the long line I assumed was for security was actually a wraparound from United's cancellation line. There was no line for security.

The rest is your typical flight situation. Very few AA flights left Portland, and evidently 300 travelers were stranded (although I had heard at one point 3,000....). I am *so* glad I was not one of them. The picture below is of the horizon around sunset over the clouds. The big white dot is Polaris .

My first day in Texas was pretty good. I spent most of it at my sister's house playing with my niece, and then Mom and I went to Mijo's to eat dinner with my brother and his family. Then I passed out for 2 hours, and proceeded to watch TV like it ain't no thing. I finally stopped halfway through that awful movie "Here on Earth."

When I came into my room to read and sleep, I saw Lexie neatly tucked into my suitcase. That little beast has lost about 15 pounds and is as spry as ever. And still does terribly cute things evidently.

Tomorrow I make an apple and pecan pie, help get ready for Christmas and put up lights in the yard. They're blue, so maybe we can pretend we're Jewish and celebrating Hannukah. That way it'll be ok to leave them up for a few extra days.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

8 Things of Christmas? A nonblog.

I was tagged by my sister!
8 T.V. Shows I watch:

1. Dexter
2. Pushing Daisies
3. Gossip Girl (embarrassed to admit that..)
4. The Hills (also embarrassed)
5. Brothers and Sisters
6. True Blood
7. Reruns of Curb Your Enthusiasm
8. Anything on PBS

8 Favorite Restaurants:

1. Mijo’s (a-town)
2. Boo Boo’s (a-town)
3. Kincaids (Fort Worth)
4. Cuba Libre (Dallas)
5. Tillman’s Roadhouse (Oak Cliff, wha wha)
6. Café Soriah (Eugene)
7. Mac's Bar and Grille (a- town)
8. Salt Lick BBQ(outside of Austin)

8 Things that happened today:

1. I took Luna to work… in her Winter Sweater!
2. I slid through a stop sign/intersection…THAT was fun.
3. I paired lemonade with macaroni and cheese…my stomach hurts
4. I’m working from home…
5. I wore my new outfit (sequins and heels, can you believe it!?)
6. I discovered some new, great music
7. I went a whole day without obsessively checking my budget excel file…so far
8. I still did not find my AMEX

8 Things I look forward to:

1. Kendra’s party on Friday
2. Seeing my awesome, adorable and cuddly niece
3. Spending time with Mom, Sister and brother and their significant others
4. Hanging out with my amazing friends!
5. Ugly Pug, Shiner Bock, Gingerman, Caves, possibly the Shine.
6. Chateau Briand.
7. 25th birthday  ok. I’m not looking forward to the birthday, but I’m looking forward to the present I’m buying myself
8. Going to San Diego in the Spring

8 Things I wish for:

1. http://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/7UL5LR426RD8
2. A safe travel home and return
3. Something really callous that I can’t actually say.
4. Free heating!
5. That Luna doesn’t die of anxiety while I’m out of town
6. A great first 100 days (and first 4 years!) for President Obama
7. Less VooDoo economics from our senate and house
8. Duh..no debt!

8 People I tag:
nah.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Blazers, Blizzard and a Beagle

Friday night I went to the Blazers game in my boss's AMAZING seats. I fell back in love with Rudy Fernandez all over again, and I'm now counting down the days until the Mavs come (he let me have those tickets!)
A few pictures...and a video (lots of "woo-ing")


video


On the drive home (it was late, the game went into double overtime), I drove through some serious snowfall, and I really hoped it was headed to Eugene for the weekend. After a weekend of lounging around reading, baking pumpkin muffins, mopping, and going to the library, I decided we would not be getting snow as promised. I had really been looking forward to going to Mt. Pisgah for a snowy hike.

However, when I woke up on Monday I received a call from my boss saying it was ok to come in a bit late because of the snow. I eagerly peeked out the window and saw nothing but white frozen-ness. I normally hate snow. It's cold, it's wet, it gets in the way of enjoying life in general. But I take great joy out of seeing my dog romp around in the snow. The drive to work was less than pleasant. I took my camera in hopes of capturing Oregon beauty in snow, but I was too busy fishtailing all over the place. Then I forgot to take my camera into my office for some pictures from the porch. Ah well, here is what I have:

the park on my block

luna in a sweater in the snow

my side yard


Monday, December 8, 2008

Silver Falls Autumn - take 2

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Hanson



Tonight I was on a downloading-music fest. It started as me downloading children's songs for my niece Callie (sorry Ruth!), and then I decided the (in)famous song "Mmm Bop!" would make a great addition to her fun time CD. Then I found myself downloading all of the songs from Hanson's debut CD.
I have actually owned this CD 3 or 4 times, and of all the CDs I've ever owned, it has probably gotten the most playtime in my player. I was OBSESSED with Hanson in jr high. Yes, I loved the middle kid for his cuteness (I think I even bought a couple of teeny bopper hot-guy picture magazines solely because he was in it), but I really really loved the music. And now, as I listen to the songs for the first time in over a year, and I miraculously remember all of the lyrics, I am in an amazingly awesome mood.
I am SO happy I finally downloaded these songs, and I'm not even 1 millionth as embarrassed about it as I perhaps should be. Hanson rox.


Tis the Season




With the ChrismaKwanzAkuh season upon us, it's easy to get stressed. Especially with untimely layoffs, tight budgets, and an onslaught of commercialism, we can end up feeling inadequate, depressed or pretty much like nothing can go right.




If anything this is the time to be creative and focus on what is really important. Family, friends and yourself. So, while it may seem a little early, my Holiday Blessing to you is to nurture love, happiness and peace in your life and the lives of those around you.




Saturday, November 29, 2008

TGFI


I've got a lot to be thankful for. I'm thankful my family still loves and supports me, despite the fact I'm over 2,200 miles away. I'm thankful for my friends, old and new, who always lend a listening ear and are great to talk shop with. I'm thankful I have a job I truly enjoy. I'm thankful for Luna!! I'm thankful for a LOT of things.


But this Thanksgiving, I am especially thankful for health insurance. As you probably know, I've recently been attacked by a nasty rhino in the form of a virus. Either I'm a huge wimp, or it was a charging beast, but it sort of did me in.

Yesterday I woke up with a gross cough and difficulty breathing, although most of the pain and sinus pressure had weakened. I decided to find a doctor, because I was concerned I might be getting a bronchial infection. She told me my problem wasn't an infection, but that the cold exacerbated my asthma!
She refilled my Maxair, prescribed me a new inhalor, gave me an OptiChamber, and let me pop a couple of pills. She told me which pharmacy was the fastest and cheapest. After a distressed phone call to my mom (I've been feeling way too cooped up in my house, and there's not a darn thing I can do about it -- I've reached a point near insanity), I headed to the pharmacy. The inhalors would've cost THREE HUNDRED DOLLARS without my insurance. With insurance, they were only $80.
So TGFI. Thank god for insurance!

I hope everyone had an enjoyable Thanksgiving. I did. Last night I was getting some leftover apple pie, and Luna somehow managed to commandeer the plate! So, I guess she had a good one too. :-)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

enferma


I don't like being sick.
I dislike missing work.
My head feels like it's going to implode from pressure.
My throat feels like someone has lodged a throbbing ball where my lymph nodes used to be.
My poor nose is sore.
I thought yesterday would be the worst of it,
but I was wrong.
Today is the worst.
I vow to be spritely tomorrow.
But at least through all of this, I've learned that I'm pretty good at feeling sorry for myself.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Rejoicing and Being Glad in the Day the Lord Made


I never fully appreciated the glory of a Saturday until I had my first hangover in college, and I realized I could languish in my bed listening to music and sipping on Vanilla Coke -- at least until someone knocked on my door to drag me to lunch.



My gratefulness for Saturday evolved when I discovered the amazing show lineup KERA had on PBS on Saturdays. From about 11 am to 4 pm, I could enjoy shows like Daisy Cooks, Mexico: One Plate at a Time with Rick Bayless, America's Test Kitchen, Ask This Old House (I love love love Kevin O'Connor), and my favorite lazy Saturday show: New Yankee Workshop. I would watch these as I read, wrote papers and then prepared for an evening at the Blue Door Cafe waiting tables and goofing off with my pals.














Now that I am a contributing member of society with a regular 8-5 job, I have a whole new deeply affectionate feeling towards Saturdays. It's not that I dislike my job, I actually love it! There was a time when (Dallas job) I would suffer from the Friday at 4 pm twitches, craving vodka to wash away the tensions of the previous week. Saturday was a day reserved for recuperation as I watched Curb Your Enthusiasmwith my dad before I went out to drown my stress again.

But here I am just pleased to have large blocks amount of time to do things I enjoy or need to accomplish. It's only 11 am, and I have already managed to type a little bit on a story I'm developing. I ate breakfast. I'm enjoying Fleet Foxes music, and I have downloaded some songs I adore. And I still have an entire day to accomplish:
1. going up Spencer's Butte or Mt. Pisgah with Lunar Module
2. sweeping, mopping, dish washing and other domestic tribulations
3. lunch
4. baking a dessert for a night of dining with girlfriends
5. stop by the library
6. read a little in my book
7. girl's night!


I love Saturdays!!!!!!!

Friday, November 21, 2008

(Not So) Common Sense



If you have a bell pepper that's been in the fridge a few days (read: longer than a week) because you used part of it to make a previous dinner, do a thorough inspection. If any part of it is brown, soft, wilting, or looks like a corpse Tony Soprano once dealt with, don't eat it. DON'T pull a Brooke and cut off "the better looking part." Unless you enjoy vomiting.




And when you have occasional bouts with asthma, take your inhalor with you when you exercise. Even if you've done the route a million times, you never know when your airways will constrict and the wheezing will begin. Because, like Brooke, you might find yourself a mile and a half away from home and a long, wheezy walk back home.






what a night.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Deer in the Headlights

I almost hit a buck deer pulling into my driveway tonight. He merely looked at me, and if he had shoulders, he would've shrugged them, and he strolled to the neighbor's yard.

What he doesn't know is that I love venison.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Spencer Butte Morning






Some pics from hiking up Spencer Butte this morning... I'll have to go back when it's not so foggy and take pictures of the city.

Portland

While I love Eugene and the many wonders it has to offer, I also adore (and miss) big cities and all THEY have to offer. So today while I was looking online for a book called The Lost Steps, and I discovered that Powell's in Portland has it, I decided to head North.

I've been to, through and around Portland. I've been to the airport three times and the Rose Arena once, and that pretty much covers my experience with Portland. Being two hours away, I really need a good excuse to go, and I also need a nice list of things to occupy my time while I'm there. Because while I might drive 3 hours to see a lake in an old volcano, driving 2 hours to go shopping is a bit ridiculous.

My first stop was Powell's bookstore, which I have heard a bit about from people in my book club. For those of you who have been to the Half Price Books on Northwest Hwy in Dallas....you ain't seen nothin' yet. Powell's is ginormous. For those of you who have been to Booked Up in Archer City, TX....you're on the right track. The store itself is actually several different buildings housing several "types" of books. I mistakenly went into the Technical Books building first, but I walked out with a cool gift for a coworker for secret santa and a book for myself called Coma. Eventually I made it to the main store on Burnside. Because of the Wordstock Festival going on, the place was beyond packed. Lines to get in, lines all over the place. I really had been looking forward to aimlessly wandering around with my mouth slightly ajar and drool dripping onto my shirt. But with all these hipster Portlanders around, I had to keep my cool. Plus my parking meter was going to run out soon. The book I needed was on the first set of shelves, so I grabbed it and found a parking place in line.

I decided to get a little lost in the Pearl District on my way back to the car, and ended up going to Lexi Dog, which was enticing because A) I have a dog named Lexie back home in Texas and B) Luna is spoiled. It's a "boutique and social club" for dogs. They had a wide variety of treats (organic and homemade) and special birthday-ish treats. Apparently you can actually host a dog birthday party there for a nominal fee of $110. I think Luna enjoyed her day at the arboretum just fine. I walked out with a relatively cheap package of Duck and Potato treats for the dogs at home. The election gear for dogs was half off, but there were no Obama shirts for Luna, and she is not a member of the Democrat or Republican parties, and that's all they had.


Then I called my friend (actually the girl who lived in my room before me) to see if she wanted to grab some dinner at Al Amir, an Eastern food restaurant my old roommate suggested. In the meantime I decided to cruise around Portland, and I almost killed a biker (it totally wasn't my fault...but he still fell off of his bike and cussed me out, which I probably would've done too if I was him. But I maintain that it wasn't my fault). I found my way easily to the restaurant, with no bikes stuck on my front bumper. I really enjoyed the food! I got the Lamb Shawarma and hummus. Then we went back to her house, where I met her roommates, and we all watched some TV, sipped some homemade pear wine, and then I left.

All in all, I got a decent dose of city life, although I wish I had stopped in a couple of art galleries. I always feel guilty for not buying when I go into them though.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Waiting on the World to Change....

I've done my part. I hope you've done yours.


Thursday, October 30, 2008

uhm.

I have this great area of my heart and sympathies which I reserve especially for old people. And when you combine that with people truly believe in their convictions and go forth to fight for them and are lambasted left and right by ...well, everyone, it creates this awful feeling inside me.

This is how I have come to feel immensely sorry for John McCain. He and I would probably never be friends, considering his lack of respect for women, but then again Larry David and I would probably never hit it off because our outlandish, oft-voiced insecurities and odd opinions would never allow it.

Starting back when he conceded to Bush in the primaries of 2004, McCain has morphed into this uber-Republican, only to be forsaken by the GOP. It's almost like they actually have a democrat running the group, and that's why all these terrible decisions and campaign maneuvers are actually happening.

It wouldn't have taken a genius to realize Palin would have been a mere firecracker to ignite the party, it just required some foresight. And despite all of her hot air, she can't keep the enthusiasm of Americans afloat. His campaign has stoked the coals of racism, anti-commie BS, and more of the old classic --- fear among the American people. Things have gotten out of control, and I truly believe this non-politician, whatever personality flaws he may have, is probably ready for it to be over.

Someone as matter of fact and...well...lacking composure as John McCain is not suited for the circus of Political America. And for that...I feel sorry for him.

Not sorry enough to vote for him, of course.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

All Functions in Life Have a Cutoff Point

The other day I went to the Lane County Elections office to give them my updated address, because we vote by mail here (weird, huh?). As I walked in, an older man was rushing into the office and made a beeline for the first attendant.

"I need to register to vote!" He exlaimed.

The calm, burly man behind the counter explained that the last day to register was October 4th, but perhaps he had registered before and could simply update his address.

"No. I've never registered to vote. I need to vote!"

The two went back and forth a bit, and finally I heard the attendant say, "All functions in life have a cut off point."

This statement sent me soaring into my own thoughts, and I didn't hear the wannabe voter's response. First I was struck by the truth that this election is bringing people out of the woodwork. This man had NEVER registered to vote, an idea completely foreign to me. He was at least sixty years old. But something about this election was sending him into a frenzy. He acted like people do in the ER when their child's head is bleeding out, as though this was a matter of life or death.

The election attendant is right. There is a cutoff point, but not just for registering to vote. For all functions in life. This has been a year filled with both exciting new beginnings and very sad, difficult goodbyes. The old cliche is true.. as one door closes, another opens. You can't hang in the rafters forever gazing at a bunch of doors left slightly ajar. It's often hard to identify the cutoff point. When do I say "ok, I'm going to end this now" or "This is the time to start something new." It's a difficult course to chart, but making those definitive decisions is what allows us to change and grow.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

autumn night

Tonight was a great Autumn night. The moon was full, the air was crisp, and the mood was calm.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Religulous


I just got back from seeing the movie Religulous, directed by Larry Charles (Curb and Seinfeld fans might know him) and starring Bill Maher. This movie was extremely thought provoking. I left feeling a paradoxical combination of discouragement and the need to act.

Without going into too much detail about my own religious beliefs (most of you don't care, and none of you have that kind of time) and how the world should turn according to those beliefs, I can say that this movie adequately highlights my reasons for breaking with organized religion. However, I'm not totally sure I agree with or appreciate the approach.

Bill Maher is the arrogant pessimist visiting high-ranking church, state and media evangelical officials (but wait, aren't those usually one in the same?). He also interviews individuals you might find in your book club, across the cubicle, serving your food, teaching your children, or... sitting in your pew. In each of these encounters, he seeks a soapbox. My parents raised me in a fashion, and I have learned they were right through my own blunders in life, to maintain a certain level of respect when you're on someone else's turf. Not only would you expect the same of them, but in doing so it is easier to participate in a dialogue with as unemotional answers as possible. He throws this caution to the wind as he blatantly tells people there is no proof of their religion, their book was written by ordinary men, and basically the fortress around which they've developed their beliefs and lived their life is actually made of imagination. Now whether or not I agree with this isn't the point. This stance never elicited a proper conversation, it only makes him look like the embodiment of pragmatism. And in the end, he implied that by going to church, temple, or whatever you are contributing to all the evil in the world. This struck me as the same as my belief that people that shop at Wal-Mart are encouraging a damaged economy. So I guess I'm a bit hypocritical in my anger towards him on this subject.

The movie was a serious one. The terrifying truths exposed by his impish questioning of these people were softened with comic reliefs of clips from old films, current videos, and audio clips mocking whatever it was they were discussing. I laughed a LOT in this movie. But I walked away feeling incredibly, incredibly discouraged by humanity.
However, all that aside... I completely agree the movie's overall point. These religions, which purport to be so different, so right and so condemning, are drawing the world in sketches of black and white, while we all know there is a spectrum of color in our lives. Such a division of "us and them" is naturally going to create animosity and the need to correct "them." It's all relative. My experiences are so vastly different from yours. The decisions I make shape my destiny in a different form than yours. But in the end, you and I will both die, and the end doesn't justify the means.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

MFFL....I swear

Let me begin this post by affirming that I AM a Mavs Fan For Life. Dirk is my homeboy, and even when Mavs players leave our team to fight the good fight elsewhere, I still cheer them on. If Finley scores a 3-pointer against us, I still yell "DOOOWWWNNTTOOWWN."

Having said this, I have adopted the TrailBlazers as my team to watch this season. Such a drastic shift in support is due to a combination of circumstances.....and...sheer "entusiasmada" (enthusiasm..you'll understand the Spanish in a bit). It is mostly due to the fact that I only get local channels and can only watch local games. Also, my boss gave me 2 tickets to tonight's game against the Golden State Warriors. His season tickets are literally four rows up. It was crazy, and of course I forgot my camera. I LOVE watching basketball, and to be so close was beyond exhilirating.

And then.... I fell in love. The Blazers signed a new player from Spain named Rudy Fernandez. I was struck by his heartwrenching good looks. But once I moved past the love at first sight phase, I quickly realized...he's QUITE the ballplayer. Constantly keeping the communication lines open with his teammates, NOT hogging the ball, shooting...and shooting well, and having a GREAT attitude on the court (unlike the Warriors). He's incredible. What a great addition to the NBA. I AM SO EXCITED. I feel that he will be a key player in the hopeful success (but not tooooo successful - I've got my boys back home to think about) of this year's team.

Bienvenido Rudy!! Oh, did I mention the best part? He's got a blog!! I hope you can read Spanish :-)

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Welcome to the Goondocks

NOTE: Turn up your speakers to hear "The Goonies R Good Enough" by Cyndi Lauper... And if you want to see a larger version of any of the pictures, just click on it.

For those of you who don't know, the cult classic The Goonies was mostly filmed in Astoria, Oregon. As a huge fan of this movie, I cannot possibly reside in Oregon without sojourning to this Mecca for children of the 1980s. So today I hauled Luna on what I thought would be a 8 hour day trip to Astoria and Cannon Beach in Northwest Oregon to see the sites. You may be thinking "Why in Buddha's name would she waste all that gas driving to see something so lame?" Well, part of the fun IS the drive and seeing everything along the way. Also, if you're asking yourself that question, you just don't get the Goonies.



First of all, Luna was not happy on the first leg of the trip. I think she figured we were just going to the dog park, and when we hit the highway, she let it be known this was NOT what she had in mind for her Saturday.











After four hours of driving, we arrived in Astoria. It is an ADORABLE town. Right on the Columbia River, the houses are all uniquely painted and scattered throughout the hillside. I loved it!





I easily found the Goonies house. To get to it, I had to park my car on the street and walk up a small hill of a driveway that led to several houses. I was disappointed to discover they had someone there working on their house, and the van was blocking the perfect picture angle! So I had to be a gawking tourist and stand directly in front of the house and surreptitiously take pictures. These are the best I could do!


















And a view of the Goondocks from the house!












The school from Kindergarten Cop:










Then I headed to Ecola State Park outside of Cannon Beach. This is also where part of the movie was filmed, along with the ending of Point Break (Keanu Reeves...). Most of the bike scene (where Brand gets pushed off of Data's sisters bike) was filmed in the entrance drive to the State Park. Probably one of the windiest, tree-heavy roads I've ever been on...but very cool! I really, really enjoyed this state park. I look forward to going again to go whale watching (apparently a prime spot), sea lion watching, and more beach exploration! From the awesome vantage point, I could see the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse, the Sea Lion Rock (a natural arch rock where a myriad of animal life thrives), Haystock Rock (see below) and plenty of fun trails to hike :-).










A view from the driftwood. It was very misty.












Seagulls on the Sea Lion Rock




























Luna was not interested in having her Sea Portrait taken.























A great place to soak up some rays....when the sun is out.













The next stop was Cannon Beach, an absolutely ADORABLE town. It was definitely a tourist type place, with tons of little shops and cafes. It kind of made me wish I hadn't spent all of my money on gas to get there! But I can always go back. The houses were cute. It was in a Tsunami Hazard Zone (as much of Hwy 101 is). Despite that, I would definitely love to vacation there some time in the future.




I was able to get a photo of Haystack Rock. This rock is famous from the movie when Mikey holds up the coin and determines they are in the right spot for treasure hunting.







After that I was pretty much Goonie-d out. But I still had about a 4.5 hour drive home. Sadly, when I went into Walgreens to buy batteries for my camera, I came back to discover Luna had eaten the drumstick bone and chicken wing bone from my lunch that I forgot to throw away. As of yet there haven't been any problems... So she was pretty lazy for the rest of the trip and just laid in her bed in the backseat.




I stopped at a viewpoint and got a couple of pretty snapshots of the sun filtering through some clouds and shedding some light on the ocean. As dark and gray as it was, it really brightened up those spots.










The rest of the drive home went smoothly, with some patches of rain, lots of dark, curvy oceanside roads, and great Sirius radio music. A road trip to people traveling through Oregon...instead of counting out-of-state license plates or slug bugs, count the number of drive-thru espresso shops. You WILL be astounded. I didn't...I might be dorky enough to go on this daylong venture, but I'm not dorky enough to have a espresso shop counting contest with myself...


Now...I might watch The Goonies..my coworker lent me her copy!