Sunday, December 21, 2008

Things I’ve Learned From Arctic Blast 2008

1. Portland is a city of completely unprepared alarmists. Even though Arctic Blast 2008 is nigh unto the apocalypse (according to the Portland metropolitan area populace), no one owns so much as an ice scraper for their car windows let alone plows to clear the now re-frozen streets.

2. 1 small hill* of solid ice + 60 pounds of kitty litter + 2 slip sliding giggly girls = Sweet sweet freedom.

3. Arctic blasts make for FANTASTIC snowboarding in waist deep powder.

4. Ridiculous pimped-out low profile tires aren’t the best tires for snow.

5. They don’t make chains or cables to fit ridiculous pimped-out low profile tires.

6. If the guy at Firestone says that the cables they have might fit your ridiculous pimped-out low profile tires, don’t buy them. You and your friends will spend an hour in the freezing cold kneeling down in six inches of snow, your hands will go numb, you might swear, and they still won’t fit.

7. I have amazing friends.

8. Always bring your cell phone car charger with you. You never know when you’ll be driving in an Arctic blast in a city with no plows with ridiculous pimped-out low profile tires with no cables after snowboarding all day in waist deep powder and find that you have a dead cell phone battery. You wouldn’t want to spend 40 minutes driving with images of you and your new car in a ditch on the side of the road with no means of calling anyone to help.

9. God controls all things, including slippery hills, traffic lights, parking spots, and the radio.

10. Driving home in an Arctic Blast might make you more sore than an entire day of snowboarding in waist deep powder (which is a near impossibility since snowboarding all day in waist deep powder is one of the most physically strenuous activities in which I’ve ever participated…and I do a lot of physically strenuous activity).

11. Sometimes it’s nice when church is cancelled for a second week in a row so that you have a day to recover from all of the lessons I learned from Arctic Blast 2008.

12. Snowdays are much more fun when you have inflatable sleds, lots of neighborhood friends, and a gigantic sledding hill (i.e. Washington DC's Masonic Temple) across the street from your house.

*This is not my actual hill featured in the video, but a fun one nonetheless.

Monday, December 15, 2008


The great thing about being snowed in is that it provides plenty of time for long as my internet holds up (I can't seem to catch a break these days, can I?). But, I have lots of new and exciting things going on in my life that I'm sure you're all dying to know about...or at least that I'm dying to tell you about!

New #1: My new phone!

Many of you have been aware of the ongoing bain of my existence that is my phone. Near the end it literally became possessed by the devil and would turn on and off at will. It was particularly annoying when it would do so in the middle of an important conversation or not even turn on and stay on long enough for me to begin a conversation. So, if I have seemed less communicative than usual, it is my phone's fault. But, that is all about to change...because I FINALLY got a new phone. Not only did I get a new phone, but I also switched providers. So, all of you Verizonites out there, we can talk to our hearts' content. All of your Sprinters (which are a dying breed, I realize) you won't have the easy access to my ear you once had.

New #2: My new car!

I wish I had pictures, but until I have the means to buy and write New #4: My new camera! you'll have to use your imagination. She's a 2006 Mazda3 hatchback. Her name is Lyla and she's a little cutie. Kind of like my quest for a man, there are things about her that I never would have chosen but I have either learned to love (the fact that she's red) or just accept (the pimped out low-profile tires) or do everything in my power to change (the funky smell that has now been eliminated). Lulu has gone to the grave (God rest her soul) and Lyla and I are becoming fast friends. I'm just so thrilled to have transportation again that I think I'd love her no matter what, but so far she's been a great little car. We're having all kinds of fun.

New #3: My new job!

I've accepted a position as the Admissions Coordinator of the residential Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder program at the Denver VA. Yes...the DENVER VA. I'm moving to Colorado in mere weeks. How do I feel, you may wonder? Excited, sad, freaked out, overwhelmed, happy, anxious, thrilled...the list goes on and changes from moment to moment. The more it settles in and becomes real, the better I feel about it. I'm really sad to be leaving Portland, because I really love it here! I've had so much fun and have felt really connected to the city since the moment I arrived. I can see myself staying here for a long long time, which is part of the reason I'm leaving now. I am feeling a pull back to Colorado and back to my family. If I don't leave now, I may never leave. I've been away for 12 years, have seen the world, sown my oats (though I'm not sure how wild they've been), and now I'm ready to be back in Colorado and back near my family. I want to be able to spend more time with them on a regular basis and be a part of their lives. I have a lot going for me in Colorado and I hope to make a good life for myself there. It'll be another fun and exciting change and just might be my last stop.

I don't have a lot of details yet on when exactly I'll be back. I'm staying in Portland for the holidays but I should be back in Colorado in the first few weeks of January. We're still negotiating a start-date with my new job, but it won't be later than January 18th. I will be moving out of my house (big sad sigh) the weekend after Christmas and will be homeless (but taken care of) for a few weeks, and then I'll be headed home. I can't wait to see all of my Colorado peeps!! And, for those of you elsewhere around the world, Colorado is a GREAT place to visit! Come see me soon!!

Tale of A City...

...with no plows.

They said it was supposed to snow on Saturday. Everyone was talking about it. People were hunkering down. There was no milk at the grocery store. Adverse weather alerts were being sent out at work. Being a girl who grew up in Colorado, I kept thinking, "It's just a little snow, why is everybody freaking out??" I understand that not everybody knows how to drive in the snow, but it's not like we were going to get THAT much.

I'm now sitting in my house...trapped and eating humble pie (if only I'd bought some milk, it would go nicely). I woke up yesterday morning and had my sort-of-annual favorite morning - The morning you wake up and realize it has snowed for the first time that season. I LOVE those mornings. They are so beautiful and peaceful and bright. I get SO happy when it snows. To peep out the window and see everything covered in a gleaming white blanket brings delight to my soul! I began to get ready for church, then got a phone call notifying me that church was cancelled. WHAT?? Church...cancelled?? For SNOW?? These people are ridiculous.

But, it was officially a snow day which meant hours of guilt-free lounging. I laid in bed an extra hour and read my book, then transferred the lounging to the couch where my roommate and I watched endless movies on TV. It was fabulous. We braved the elements and went to pick up a pizza for lunch (gimme a was a snow day). The roads were a little slippery, but not too bad. We made it home safely and continued our lounging. I even made ribs for a late dinner. The day couldn't have gotten much better.

Today I woke up with every intention of going to work. I'd made it out yesterday right? It snowed all day yesterday, but today the sun is shining and it's clear outside. I got all bundled, got in my car, said a prayer that I'd be safe, and headed out. I got about 30 yards from my front door when I met my first (and only) obstacle - a slight hill that was a solid sheet of ice. I made my first (and only) attempt to get up it. I employed all of my I-know-how-to-drive-in-the-snow skills. I shifted to second gear when my tires started spinning, I turned into the spin that my car was starting to go into, yet I still ended up spun around and sliding sideways down the hill and into the curb. Luckily, I didn't hit the little sapling behind me or the parked car in front of me. I had to do a slow 20-point turn to get turned back in the direction of my house. I did, indeed, make it home safely, even though I didn't get far. I suppose prayers are answered in funny ways.

I'm not sure if it is the pimped out low profile tires on my new car ( read that correctly), or the below freezing temperatures, or the fact that Portland HAS NO PLOWS, or maybe it's a combination of the three. If this sort of thing happened in Colorado they would have had the streets plowed before it even stopped snowing and we'd all be on our merry little way. Here, there is just ice. Ice everywhere. Which leaves me trapped in my house. Snow day one = blissful guilt-free lounging. Snow day two = stir crazy cabin fever. I'm worried how long this will go on since there is no indication that the temperatures are rising or that they'll ever plow/salt/gravel our little hill since it's not a main road. Maybe I'll take a walk to the grocery for some milk.

Oh, and did I mention that the heat in our house isn't working? I'm currently typing this as I'm crouched next to a little space heater that is warming my room so I don't freeze to my house. If you don't hear from me for a few days, maybe you should send out a search party.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Case of the Mondays

My case of the Mondays started on a Wednesday a week and a half ago when my car, Lulu, broke down on the freeway on my way home from work…in the pouring rain. It began as I stood (in my little pencil skirt and faux snake skin heels) on the side of the road, getting splashed with road water from the passing semi-trucks, contemplating my fate without Lulu. I knew she was done for. Smoke was pouring out of the engine and into the car. This was no ordinary break down (and I should know…you might call me a connoisseur of break downs). Just before she died she let out a 5 alarm fire warning with every possible bell and whistle blaring at me. Did I heed the warning? No. I figured I could make it home…or at least to my mechanic before she gave up the ghost. But, my faith was misplaced. She died there on the 5 just north of the Stafford Road exit of overheating, a blown head gasket, and a burnt up heating core. She was clearly having a case of the Mondays.

But my case of the Mondays didn’t end there. It continued once I arrived home to my much anticipated hot shower, Burgerville burger, and Wednesday night TV. I was looking forward to indulging in these pleasures to help me forget about the cold and wet hour and a half I spent waiting for the tow truck driver to arrive. I needed warmth, greasy and delicious food, and the pie maker. I got my hot shower, but the CMAs thwarted my TV watching. And E coli thwarted my comfort food. I spent most of the night expelling every ounce of comfort I had previously put into my belly just an hour earlier.

And my case of the Mondays didn’t end there either. My saint of a roommate gave her first (of many) rides to the bus stop on Thursday morning so I could get to work. We arrived with plenty of time and I moseyed over to the bench to wait for my bus (which was sitting just outside the station in its “I’m here early and am waiting to start my route” position). As I turned around and took my seat, the bus pulled out of its “I’m here early and am waiting to start my route” position and took off down the road, rather than taking the usual pass through the station, thereby causing me to wait in the cold another 15 minutes for the next bus.

You’d be clever if you thought my case of the Mondays ended there. And you’d be wrong. That evening, I’d pseudo arranged for a ride home from the bus stop after work. Plan A never contacted me, so I got on the bus, assuming I could call Plan B on my way home and tell her that her mission was being activated. The only problem is that my cell phone had died prior to being able to notify Plan B. So, there I sat, on the 64 Express to Tigard, with no phone, no money, and (again) wearing insensible shoes (you’d think I would learn my lesson). A kind soul on the bus let me borrow her phone to call my friend, only she didn’t answer at first. Then she gave me some quarters so I could use a pay phone if it came to that. Could it really come to that? What was happening to me?? Luckily Plan B got the message and arrived at the bus stop just in time to save me from a 3 mile uphill walk in the rain and ridiculously uncomfortable shoes.

So, my case of the Mondays began on a Wednesday, carried over to Thursday, and trickled on for the following week and a half, culminating in today, Monday, one of the most stressful days I’ve had in a very long while. I’ll spare you the details, but the day has included completing paperwork to buy a new car, picking up said car, taking it to the mechanic to get the stink out, getting to work 2 hours late, missing an appointment with a patient, eating only a PBJ and a piece of string cheese all day long, dealing with a possessed phone, and catching the red eye to New Hampshire for a long-awaited Thanksgiving holiday with my family. It was topped off by a middle seat on said red eye and leaving my headphones in my jacket pocket in the overhead compartment. I’m going on about 1.3 hours of neck wrenching sleep).

When it comes to my life, when it rains, it pours. This applies to all areas whether it’s stress, change (hopefully to be blogged about soon), problems with electronic devices, dating, you name it. No one ever said I was good at moderation. And if they did, they are idiots. The one thing I’m grateful for is that through this very trying week and a half, blessings have also poured. This experience has taught me to rely on other people and ask for help, which I’m not very good at. It has shown me how much the Lord is aware of me and cares about the little details of my life. He provided for me at every turn. I came out with a new car (at a killer deal), and a new appreciation for my AMAZING friends who were so willing to help me out. I can never repay their kindness and patience with me.

Despite my week and a half long case of the Mondays, I sit here in the Newark airport happy that it is Tuesday. I had a bagel and hot chocolate from Au Bon Pain (an old East Coast fave), I found my way to terminal A (despite the shady bus that took me through the underbelly of New Jersey), and I found a seat in the waiting area with no arm rests so I can lay down and get some shut eye. It’s a new day.

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Vote Didn't Even Get Baracked

You know how a few short months ago I was posting about being a procrastinator? And, how a few short posts before that I was going on and on about being forgetful? Well, those two great weaknesses came together to create what might be my biggest, and in fact only, regret in life.

I cannot vote tomorrow.

I am so ashamed to even write those 4 words. But, it's true. As a world class procrastinator, I sent in my Oregon voter registration form at the last minute of the last hour of the last day to register. I had to specially request that they post mark it for that day or else it wouldn't count. And, in my haste, I forgot to sign the registration form. I got it back in the mail the other day with a big yellow highlighted line where my signature should have been. Since I sent it in so late, I was unable to fix my mistake and send it back in as the deadline had already passed (like 30 seconds after the original mailing). Also, I was too late to request a vote by mail ballot from California. So, I am not able to take part in the most historic election of my 12 years of adulthood.

It's really a shame too. This is the sort of event that I might be telling my grandchildren about years from now. Of course, now Grandma Nay Nay is going to be nothing but a big fraud when she retells her story of how she helped elect the first African American President of the United States of America. Either that, or I have to admit that I didn't vote...gasp! I'm not sure which is worse, being a liar or a non-voter. I'm reluctant to admit that this isn't the first time this has happened. I also didn't vote the first year that I was eligible because I was away at my freshman year of college and didn't get an absentee ballot or make the drive down to the county where I was registered. I tried desperately to make up for it in the following years, as I was a HUGE advocate of voter registration (even going so far as to shame the non-registered girls in my relief society classes and giving a fist pounding speech about registering at the beginning of all of my lessons leading up to the 2004 election. This was before I was RSP).

I have a terrible fear that this joke (sent to me by both Ryan and Courtney) will turn out to be a reality and it will, indeed, be all my fault. Please forgive me in advance (or thank me if you are on the McCain/Palin train).

P.S. It's been raining since I woke up this morning. Hello frizzy hair, soggy shoes, and no power steering. Goodbye glorious Oregon fall with your breathtaking vistas, soft sunshine, and beautiful weather that I never got around to posting about. I will miss you.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

6 a.m.

6 a.m. and I are not friends. It's not that we're bitter enemies. There have been times when I can tolerate her, like in the summertime when she's bright and warm and welcoming. Even then I don't LOVE her, but I can stand the sight of her face. I hate her most in the early now. She's dark and dreary and forces me to stay in bed until the friendlier 7 a.m. comes around and she makes me late for work. I'm particularly mad at her this morning...mostly because I'm BFFs with 1 a.m. and those two just don't get along. I've tried to be a nice mediator between the two, but I always end up siding with 1 a.m. He's just so much more fun. He "gets" me and we jive so much better than me and 6 a.m. I know that 6 a.m. is probably going to be a better friend to me in the long run, and I'm definitely trying to limit the time I spend with 1 a.m. But, it's not easy to give up such a good friend. Maybe I'll just have to give it a few more weeks until 6 a.m. gets nicer again...she's so moody!!! What about you? What time do you hate? Love?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Not Quite a Doctor

My mom is always going on about how I'm a doctor, even though I have nothing resembling a PhD or MD or anything else that might warrant the title. I remind her over and over again that I'm a social worker with a masters degree. Well, now I'm officially not a doctor...but I do officially have a fancy new title! I passed my clinical exam today and you can now refer to me as Licensed Clinical Social Worker Renee. Pleased to meet you. Now I just need a shingle.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

No Excuses

I have a terrible habit of procrastinating. It is genetic and was passed down from both of my parents. I can't really help it. This genetic defect first manifest itself when I was a young lass having so much fun playing in the sandbox that I procrastinated going to the bathroom...and then wet myself. While the consequences of procrastinating in my adult life don't usually result in ridicule and shame, they have a weight all their own. As I type this, I realize I'm in the process of procrastinating right now. I should be packing for my trip to Colorado, my flight leaves in 8 hours (most of which I should be sleeping) and I have yet to even get my suitcase from the basement.

Back to my point...I'm a procrastinator. This procrastinating impacts my blogging. I have a whole summer full of fun piling up in my head that I write about. I've started and saved at least 5 posts and haven't finished them. I procrastinate so much that the task becomes daunting and I put it off even more...because it's scary. I used to cope with this by calling Alice at 2:00 in the morning before a big paper was due and crying to her that "I don't know how to start." She always talked me through it and the paper turned out A-ok, and wasn't nearly as scary as I'd made it out to be in my head. But, now I'm a big girl, and it's just not fair to call Alice at 2:00 in the morning to cry about all of the posts that are piling up in my head and becoming so daunting that I don't want to write them. So, this is my attempt to start.

I was going to write this post (as the title suggests) that there are no excuses for my absence from the blogosphere. I kind of hate excuses. I used to be a pro at coming up with fantastical excuses for why I didn't do something or why I was late, or why I didn't show up at all. I learned a while back that I don't need to have an excuse. I do what I do and the reason doesn't really matter. And, there's no use lying about it. I would just be trying to justify bad behavior, which is inexcusable. So, I am not going to give any excuse...except that I just did, and it's that I'm a procrastinator. Blame my parents. And here's another one, just for fun. Since I don't have a camera, I'm waiting on photos from my friends so my posts become more aesthetically pleasing and I can stop playing with font size. Blame Peter. (aren't I good at diverting responsibility??)

Now that I've procrastinated even further and not given you a lick of my summer fun...I'm going to go pack. But, expect a deluge. Or don't...I wouldn't want you to get your hopes up.

Parking Karma

It happens to be a fact that I have amazing parking karma (and by the mere act of writing it, I am sure I am losing it. Pride sort of strips you of all things good...particularly karma, so consider yourself lucky...this is a huge sacrifice for me to keep you posted on the goings on of my life). While I've had many a good spot, NOTHING can top tonight's find. I went to see the Portland Timber play their final game tonight at PGE park. There were over 13,000 people at the game. And, since most games aren't so highly attended, everyone got there at about 10 to 7 expecting to mosey on in. Instead it was a mad house outside with block long lines to the ticket booths. I see the mayhem as I'm approaching the stadium. Just before getting to the intersection, I say a quiet little prayer that I'll find a good parking spot. I cross the intersection and a car that was parked RIGHT across the street from the entrance pulled out of its spot. I slipped right in without even having to parallel park. I sat in the car for a second, awaiting an LAX-like security guard to pop from behind the light post and ticket me, or at the very least tell me to "move it along." But no, it's a certified, bonifide spot. AND the signs indicating the time limits were covered it was like a total freebee!! I couldn't believe my luck. What could I possibly have done in the pre-existence, or in this life, for that matter, to be blessed with such parking bliss? It's one of the great mysteries of God and will probably be like the 6th thing I ask Him when we meet some day.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


I love eating outside. There is almost nothing better than feeling the sun beat down on my face while enjoying a good sandwich (I mean, a sandwich alone is hard to beat...but the sun certainly adds to the perfection). The weather out here has been beautiful these last few days, and, seeing as how I've been a vampire without a touch of sun this summer, I've been heading outdoors for lunch and some basking.

Eating outside always comes with a little adventure, usually in the form of critters*. Today was no exception. First I was accompanied by a little bee friend. He was nice enough, except for the fact that he kept landing on my sandwich exactly where I was about to bite. I don't think either of us would have wanted to be friends anymore if he ended up in my mouth. Sick. After trying to mate with some pork** that had fallen from my sandwich, my bee friend found himself satiated and went on for porkier pastures.

Then came the pigeons (in frankonology "rats with wings"). I'm not sure why they decided to come settle at my feet, as I wasn't nearly as appealing as the large man spreading breadcrumbs around the corner (I've really never understood people who seek out these infested creatures). I've got absolutely no time for birds of any kind that come begging for fact, I've got absolutely no time for anything that begs for anything, except maybe the cute Tijuanan boy selling chilclett...I love me some chiclett. Well, soon enough the birds had their fill of the measly pickins in my area and, all at once, decided to head back to tubby with the breadcrumbs. They all began flapping and flying in my direction, narrowly missing my terrified face. This hubub caused me to shriek out and take cover, to the amusement of my lunching neighbors.

But, have no fear. This is only the second most embarrassing thing that happened to me today. I started the day off with a face plant as I boarded my bus this morning...a bus that had already left the station and kindly stopped to pick me up on the side of the street as I flagged it down (today I promise I wasn't late...there is a new driver and I swear her clock is fast). Needless to say, if all the passengers weren't already looking to see who was holding up their morning commute, they sure were after the loud crash and squeal that announced my arrival.

*Not the kind one might cover with doilies.
**Not chops, which I have also been known to eat outside.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

It's getting worse

I thought by being open about my new problem it would make it go away. The first step to rehab is admission that I have a problem, right? Wrong...

This weekend, while on a lovely getaway to Bend, OR with my roommate Ashley, I left my cell phone at the pizza/salad buffet where we were having dinner. Luckily it wasn't stolen and I was able to retrieve it when we went back.

Not that the cell phone would have done anyone a lick of good. Ol' celly is nearly dead and is fast approaching the grave. In fact, I think tomorrow she'll go to that great place where all cell phones eventually go (the mouth of a friend's baby...what is it about babies' fascination with cell phones?). I've been meaning to get a new phone, and a new phone number, and a new provider for almost a year now. I get no cell phone coverage in my house, I'm still paying taxes on a California number, and my phone doesn't hold a charge for half a day. Now, aside from the charge problem, I'm not able to send text messages and the phone doesn't notify me if I have incoming calls or messages (until I see the little voicemail icon). The alarm didn't even work this morning. The screen also freezes and it looks like I've stayed connected on a call for 10+ hours. I hope I'm not being charged for this!

So tomorrow, I shall finally make the great switch from Sprint to Verizon, thereby being able to chat endlessly to my family and friends (Desiree...don't wet yourself, I'll still be on my way somewhere when we talk...and HAPPY BIRTHDAY if you happen to be reading this today). I'll somehow let you all know if I end up getting a new number with my new phone...but that might be too much change for me in one day. Besides, at the rate I'm going, who knows if I'll be able to remember it.

Monday, July 14, 2008


Mama said I'd lose my head
If it wasn't fastened on.
Today I guess it wasn't
'Cause while playing with my cousin
It fell off and rolled away
And now its gone.
And I can't look for it
'Cause my eyes are in it,
And I can't call to it
'Cause my mouth is on it
(Couldn't hear me anyway
'Cause my ears are on it),
Can't even think about it
'Cause my brain is in it.
So I guess I'll sit down
On this rock
And rest for just a minute…

~Shel Silverstein

I recited this poem for an audience in 4th grade. Who knew the foreshadowing this poem held for me 20 years later. In the last 2 weeks I've managed to leave my camera at the Fourth of July Fireworks at Tigard HS (never to be seen again) and my hiking shoes at the trail head for Saddle Mountain (luckily found awaiting me hours later when we returned for them...thanks Craig!!). What is happening to me? All of my friends tell me you start to lose your mind and forget things once you have kids. I think it's only coincidental that it happens then and really I think it's just about getting old. I've never been one to forget red/type A/anal retentive (whatever you choose to call it) personality won't allow for it. So, either I'm loosening up in my 30s, or I'm losing my mind. Either way, it's resulting in losing stuff, which I'm not happy about. Am I going to turn into my mother and attach anything of value to my person or their designated location with an old brown piece of yarn? So help me...

P.S. Due to the loss of the camera, a post on the trek will be forthcoming...sorry for the delay. Stay tuned!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Calling All Stalkers

FYI: If you are a stalker on this blog and you happen to run into me at Joann Fabrics in Tigard on a Saturday afternoon, don’t be afraid to say hi!! As awkward as you think the conversation might be, I’d love to meet you!*

*unless you are a creepy person who’s not a friend of a friend of a friend and you are planning to lure me to your unmarked van with candy and then kill me. I would not love to meet you.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Game

As has been previously mentioned (I seem to be saying that a lot lately) I have a LOVE of other people's photos. So, when I saw this game on Sara's blog, I had to play along. Here is my resulting mosaic.

Want to play? Here's how:

a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
b. Using only the first page, pick an image.
c. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd's mosaic maker.

The Questions:
1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favorite food?
3. What high school did you go to?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. Favorite drink?
7. Dream vacation?
8. Favorite dessert?
9. What you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?
11. One Word to describe you.
12. Your flickr name. (kid version: favorite animal?)

photo credits: 1. Renee, 2. Pad Thai - Closeup Pad Thai, 3. Hey, Hot Shot! Entries: Remi Thornton, 4. Pink for the Cure, 5. Pace Family, 6. cocacola, 7. Belize 020, 8. Chocolate Cake Balls, 9. MOMMY & BABY / MAMÃE E BEBÊ, 10. fisher price lil people, 11. Genuine Smile, 12. A Star and an Elephant

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Gimpy McGimperson

It was the last two minutes of our indoor soccer game on Tuesday night. I went hard for a ball in the corner, determined to score at least one goal in our currently 0-5 game. Just one goal!! Well, apparently I was a little too determined, because I rolled over my ankle, heard a little snap, crackle, and pop, and I was down for the count. I've sprained many an ankle before, but never had the pain been this bad. I can usually "walk it off" or at least "walk off the field" but not this time. I had to literally be carried off the field. The injury necessitated a trip to the ER later that night and since then I've been sitting on my toosh trying to rest it. Here is what I've learned in my days of invalidacy (is that a word??):

1. It takes an act of God to get me to slow down. I've been ridiculously exhausted over the last week and half and there was no end in sight. I think this sprain was God's way of telling me that I need to take a break and have a rest.

2. I have amazing friends! Everyone was so helpful from getting me ice, to getting me home, to getting me food, to giving me a blessing, to taking me to the ER, to checking up on me. I am so blessed to have such good people in my life.

3. I sort of love going to the ER. This is probably because I've never had a horrible or traumatic experience there (well, I take that back, a few were bad). But, mostly they've been for sprained ankles...and those trips are fun. Your friends are there, you get to play with the hospital equipment (last time this involved me being inverted in my hospital bed by Scott and Joe when the doctor finally came in), and just hanging out.

4. I have discovered the best kept secret hospital in the Portland area. I'm not going to tell you what it is or else it won't be a secret anymore, but we were in and out of the ER in less than an hour (including check-in, x-rays, doctor's chat, splinting, crutches, and a conversation with the nurse about indoor soccer). And everyone there was SUPER friendly and fun. They made for a great ER experience!

5. I hate crutches. I used them for about 5 minutes to get into the house after the hospital and they've since been ditched. I'd rather hobble around like a gimp. The doctor says it's good for healing :) I might be singing a different tune when I go back to work tomorrow and I'll bring them just in case. But I won't be happy about it.

6. As much as I thought I'd love to have a few days at home with nothing to do but watch TV and check email...I'm bored out of my mind. My toosh hurts and I wish I could get off this couch and do something. I'm definitely well rested, but also a little stir crazy. It's funny how when I have full use of all my limbs I don't want to go to the gym...but now all I can think about is going for a run.

7. (this one I already knew) I hate the fact that I don't bruise. When I get hurt badly, I want something to show for it. But no, I get a perfectly flesh colored ankle that's a little swollen. Why can't I get all black and blue and that sick yellow color (like this). I need war wounds...I've got nothing to show for it!!

Larry vs. Me

(check below for all of the posts that I started weeks ago and am only now getting to finish. Thank goodness for an injury and a few days off, huh??)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

I Love Visitors - Emily Edition

I think I've mentioned it before, but I've had more visitors in the year I've lived in Portland than I did in the entire 4 years I was in LA. Maybe even more than LA plus the 3 years I was in DC! I'm telling you...Portland is the new vacation destination! Come and check it out for yourself!! In light of this, I'm instituting "I Love Visitors" as a new spot on the blog. (watch, this will jinx me and I won't get any more).

Little Miss Emily came for a visit to Portland a few weeks ago! It was SO great to see her!! She did a pretty good job of outlining the trip on her blog. I went down to Eugene to pick her up and spent a lovely evening with her aunt and uncle who were very fun and hospitable. We had a great dinner, slept in, looked at her uncle's new koi pond, and then had a nice drive up to Portland. We spent our time shopping, eating, touring historical sites, watching great movies, and hiking in the rain. We even did a bunch of things I've never done before like happy hour at Jake's Famous Crawfish, The Chinese Gardens, and a great hike in Northwest. These things will definitely be added to the Portland visitors' itinerary. It was such a fun trip, and mostly just great to hang out with Em. Thanks for coming Emily!! I hope you come back soon!

A Year in the Life

This week I hit my one-year anniversary in the Great Northwest, Portland Oregon. As with most anniversaries, I have this "Didn't I just move here?" and "Man, I feel like I've been here for WAY over a year" combination of feelings. Since A Year in the Life of Miss Renee has been adequately documented on this hear blog, I won't do the full recap. But, I just have to say that it's been an amazing year. I've been completely happy with my move and have loved being here from the moment my big toe entered this fine state. I have made some incredible friends, have had a lot of fun exploring the city, and have been really happy. It has been a great place for me to be and I've learned a lot since moving here. It will be fun to see what the next year has in store for me :)

Friday, May 9, 2008


I'd like to preface this post by saying that I'm not typically afraid of spiders, bugs or snakes. I don't particularly love them in my house, but they do not generally evoke any fear or anxiety. In fact, I once had a little bee friend when I was in school at CSU. He would come and hang out with me on the quad when I would study/nap between classes (and let's be honest, there was definitely more napping than studying). But me and the bee - no fear, just friends.

I was taking a sleepy shower this morning (my term for trying to get a few extra minutes of shut-eye by taking a shower with my eyes closed) when, through a tiny open slit, I saw this:
Yes, this GIGANTIC spider was perched on the wall just above the shower head. This not so little guy tore me from my sleepy state and had me at full attention for the rest of my shower. He was HUGE and brought flashbacks of that scene in Arachnophobia where the spider lands on the showering girl's face and she dies (she died, right? It's been a while.). At any rate, standing naked and wet in an enclosed space with a possibly deadly spider left me feeling a little vulnerable. But, I was only on step one of my 5 step showering process (you can ask me later) and all 5 steps were necessary on this particular day. I spent the entire shower in a state of near panic and even bruised my heels when spidey momentarily lost his grip on the increasingly misty wall and almost plummeted into the bathtub with me. Luckily he caught himself, but it didn't stop him from trudging on in his pursuit of the ceiling. When it came time to rinse out my conditioner, I positioned the shower head nearly horizontal to the ground and had to back bend into the stream of water so I could keep one eye on him at all times. I didn't need him slipping down (or intentionally jumping) onto my face and killing me with his poison bite.

After the traumatic showering I was trying to figure out how to dispose of spidey so I didn't find him waiting for me in my bed when I came home tonight. Luckily, as I was devising my plan, I heard a big thud and realized he'd fallen from the ceiling and was awaiting his death-by-drowning on the bottom of the tub. With a quick flick of the nozzle, I was able to whisk him away in a perfectly safe (for me) and humane (I'm assuming) death down the bathtub drain. Phew! I'm so glad that's over. Now I can return to my 20 minutes of snoozing-while-pretending-to-get-clean in the mornings.

Monday, April 28, 2008

The Great GC

As has already been mentioned, I turned the big 3-0 earlier this month. And, since it's sort of a big birthday, I wanted to take a big trip to celebrate. I tossed around destinations like Costa Rica and Hawaii, but finally settled on the Grand Canyon, because c'mon...what's bigger than the Grand Canyon (except maybe the moon...and while I did go to Space Camp, I'm pretty sure the moon ain't happenin' for me anytime soon).

So, this weekend was the big birthday trip and I spent the big weekend with two of my favorite boys (excluding my dad of course, who really is more of a man, so he doesn't qualify for this category). Sorry if you were one of the many men who thought you were my favorite. Perhaps you'll have your chance to attain that status if we ever do something like this:

Scott and Paul and I had an incredible weekend backpacking the Grand Canyon. I know this may sound dumb, but I really had no idea how BIG the Grand Canyon really is. The pictures don't even do it justice. It was AMAZING!! The vastness and beauty were breathtaking (as was the hike from Bright Angel Campground back up to the rim of the canyon...literally...I had no breath).

I was about to say "I'll spare you the details" but unfortunately I am who I am and it's impossible for me to do such a thing. Just so you can be impressed with how amazing the Grand Canyon is (and how amazing we are for hiking it) I'll not spare you the details.

With about 4 hours of pretend sleep under my belt, we began the descent into the Canyon on Saturday morning, taking the South Kaibab trail (which is about 7 miles and about 4780 ft elevation change). I was a little worried that my 30-year old body, particularly my knees, wouldn't be able to handle the trip...but she held up just fine. I had to do lots of IT band stretches and maybe looked like I had cerebral palsy going downhill with my two hiking poles, but I made it down unscathed except for a blister on my right hand that burst about an hour into the 5 hour hike. The weather was absolutely gorgeous and got hotter and hotter as we went further into the canyon (which made me nothing but happy since I've been living in drearyville these days).

We made it to the bottom in a little under 5 hours, found a lovely campsite right by a river that feeds into the Colorado, and then hit the beach. Yes, there is a beach at the bottom, on the banks of the Colorado River. I was initially upset that I forgot a bathing suit and was about ready to strip down to my sports bra and dive in...until I got my feet wet and realized that the water was FREEZING! A few brave souls (including Paul) took the dive, but I'm my father's daughter and I HATE cold water. I was perfectly contented to lounge on the beach in the shade of a tree. We met up with some of Paul's fellow trainees (he is at the GC for 2 weeks for a National Park Service Training with people from National Parks all over the country) then went back to the camp site for some much needed grub. Paul made us a delicious din din of camp quesadillas...YUM!! After dinner we hung out on Scott's raft of a bed roll and chatted with our new friends. Then we headed to the mess hall at Phantom Ranch (yes, there is also a ranch at the bottom) for a night cap (or cocoa). We hit the hay around 9:00 and spent an amazing night sleeping under the most beautiful starlit sky of my life (and I even saw a shooting star just before falling asleep).

We woke up early (5 am) the next morning and prepared for our hike out. This time we were taking the Bright Angel Trail which is about 9.3 miles and 4460 ft elevation change. I started the morning off strong and was trucking through the first 4.5 miles. I found this hike to be SO beautiful! I loved the stream and the canyon walls and the brief glimpses of the entire canyon below. It was amazing. We met up with our friends who started the ascent earlier than us and continued with them for the rest of the day. They provided some much needed entertainment. I continued strong through Devil's Corkscrew to Indian Garden, the lovely little mid-way point. We hung out, had some food, and took a jaunt to Plateau Point (though Scott and I got distracted by a photo shoot and didn't make it all the way there). I was feeling great at this point, knowing we were half way there. But, then I realized that in the first 4.5 miles we gained 1300 ft in elevation. And in the second half, we were covering about the same distance but gaining 3000 ft in elevation. YIPES!! I made the mistake of filling my 3 liter camelback, which was totally unnecessary considering there was a water station in a mile and a half. It weighed me down a bit and I was definitely quite a bit slower in the second half. But, me and my 35 pound backpack trudged up the endless switchbacks. I won't say it was easy. My hips were begging me to just stop, drop my pack, and make my home on the ridge. But, I will say that it was completely amazing, beautiful, and gratifying. Scott (and his previously unknown to me competitive streak) raced up the canyon in the second half. He turned a switchback ahead of us and was never to be seen again. When we finally made it to the top, it was pure, sweet success! I saw a couple with ice cream cones and yelled "ICE CREAM!" and b-lined it for the soda fountain shop. Rainbow Sherbet never tasted so good.

Scott and I had early flights to catch on Monday morning, so we went back to Paul's place, showered, and then headed back to Phoenix (with a brief stop at Arby's where we gorged ourselves on all of the fried food we could get our hands on). We visited with his cousin, took a dip in the hot tub, ate some more food (c'mon, we burned a LOT of calories on the hike) and then crashed out. I woke up exactly 2 minutes before our planned 4 am departure time and we headed to the airport. Every step was excruciating and I hated the idea of putting the pack on my back one more time. Scott even ditched most of his belongings (including throwing his hiking shoes in the trash) to lighten the load.

So, the big trip for the big 3-o was about as big and as good as it could get. I had an amazing time with my two BFs, was reminded of God's love and the beauty of the earth, and came to know myself a little better. BIG thanks to Paul and Scott for making it such an amazing and memorable weekend. You guys are great and I miss you both already! I'd love to go back and do it again if anyone's up for it. Though, while I'm glad I backpacked it the first time around (mostly so I can say I've done it), next time I would definitely book a room at Phantom Ranch which would require only a day pack.

And now, just like aunt Mildred, I'm going to subject you to a slide show of my photos of My Trip to the Grand Canyon (totally cliche, I know). But, at least you can look at them at your leisure (or not look at them at all) and you don't even need to feign interest!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

portland is a fickle little h

She's a tease...and I don't like a tease!! This weekend brought us GORGEOUS weather. It was in the 80s, sunny, beautiful, trees are in bloom, the air smelled sweet, it was DRY. I spent the day outside participating in the usual summer activities: soccer practice in the morning, washing my car in the afternoon. I got a little sweaty and my skin is beginning to lose the Boo Radley look it's taken on. It was delightful. I was ready to put away my winter coats and pack up the sweaters.

And then...Monday rolled around. I am not typically a hater of Mondays. It is certainly not my favorite day of the week, but I've never had a "case of the Mondays" as they say. Well, maybe I have...but the day isn't inherently bad...except this week. Monday came, and with it came the FREEZING COLD, rain, clouds, sweaters and coats. I'm all for winter...don't get me wrong. I wasn't at all bothered by the Northwest winter with the rain and cold. I like my winter clothes, I like to get bundled, I like winter sports, and I like how winter gives you an appreciation for spring and summer. BUT, like I said, I DON'T like a tease. Don't give me one weekend of wonderfully warm weather and then snatch it away and give me bitter cold and rain. Perhaps I was spoiled by the constant 70 degree weather and gradual temperature changes of Southern California. Those 4 years made me forget that spring is fickle...but that doesn't mean I have to like it.

Even my winter coat is rebelling. I lost TWO buttons on the coat yesterday...TWO!! It's as if my coat is saying, "I've had enough! I'm done! I'll button no longer!" (In a strange coincidence, I also lost a button on my shirt yesterday...perhaps this post should be about the work-out plan I'll soon be initiating rather than how I wish it would warm up?)

At any rate...spring, come back, I'm not mad...I promise!

Monday, March 31, 2008

what would you do for a renee dollar?

Anyone who knows me (which I assume is the case if you are reading this blog...but perhaps that's a mistaken assumption) knows that I:

1) Love a good competition and
2) Will do almost* anything for money.

My darling friends realized these two great things about me and threw a birthday party that was perfectly suited for me. Following a delicious dinner at Salvador Mali's, we headed to our place for the festivities which involved playing, "What would you do for a dollar?"

The Rules:
1. Everyone gets 5 Renee Bucks
2. Challenge people to do stuff for money
3. Be WILD and creative
4. Whoever has the most money at the end of the night wins the BIG PRIZE (a date with me).

So, what would you do for a dollar?

Ethan ate an entire jar of pickles.
I drank the juice.
Ashley told everyone that she's a Wild Succulent Woman (so did Russ).
Jeff Kissed me (on the lips).
Laurie shook her booty (among other things).
I pinned someone up against the wall with my bum for 5 seconds without saying anything.
Jessica bit some guy's arm.
Ethan crawled through people's legs.
Gabe tried (unsuccessfully) to grope Peter, but Ethan gladly let him.
Jeff made butt to butt contact with everyone in the room.
Mega Mike flew me.
Gabe bit people's calves.
I stripped*.
Laura sang one for the cougs.
Ariana caught olives in her mouth.
I did the worm.
Kevin stood on his hands.
Andy drank the sickest thing I could ever imagine.
I shimmied.

I learned two things:
1) I have no shame.
2) Maybe I should develop some.

Many brave and embarrassing acts were performed for fake money that night and it made for a delightful party. Big thanks go out to everyone (especially Laurie) for leaving their inhibition at the door. Thanks for such a great party and for helping me get the 30th b-day celebrations off to a great start!!

Here are some pics of the birthday dinner and a few of the party (unfortunately the camera didn't catch most of the hilarity).

*All previously established standards of modesty and propriety were kept.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Earth Schmearth

I was inspired last week by Cobb's post on earth hour. I wanted to join the efforts to save our earth by turning out the lights from 8-9pm on Saturday March 29th. Unfortunately, that time conflicted with my previously planned birthday party. I mean, priorities, right? So, we decided to delay the celebration and have it tonight instead.

At 8:00 pm on the dot, we turned off all the lights and unplugged a few things, thus (reportedly) reducing our carbon footprint by a smidgen. Mostly I was excited to hang out with my friends in the dark for an hour while giving the appearance of saving the earth without having to do that much. Courtney made a number of suggestions for ways of entertaining ourselves in the dark. We opted to play speed scrabble and Five Crowns by candle light. I was enjoying myself immensely, but apparently saving the earth isn't fun for my friends. You would think they'd be into it since they live in Oregon, but apparently they hate the earth. I even found out that Gabe doesn't even recycle!! What?? They couldn't stop complaining. But, when 9:00 rolled around, I didn't see anyone jumping up to turn the lights back on. Perhaps in that quiet hour they had time to meditate on how much they love the earth and being in the dark. Besides, without earth hour, we never would have gotten to see the obese drunkard burn down.



Thursday, March 20, 2008


I've always wanted a big booty...

What do you think??

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Extracurricular Activities

Has anyone ever asked you what your hobbies are or what you enjoy doing? I think it's a fairly common question, particularly when meeting new people. I always have a really hard time answering it, though it should be fairly simple, right? What do you like to do? My problem is not that I can't come up with anything, but that I have a tremendously hard time narrowing it down. I like to do just about everything. I'll try anything once and I like to pretend that I'm "in" to lots of stuff. My problem is that I sort of jump from activity to activity and never really get good at any of them. My commitment problems are blatantly manifest in the way I spend my leisure time.

I've recently semi-committed to two extracurricular activities that I've loved for a long long time. First off, I joined an indoor soccer team. My friend Jenn from DC moved to Portland a few months ago and graciously invited me to join her team. We're called the Leftovers...and it's a pretty good description. We're certainly not the best team on the league, but we sure do have a lot of fun. Re-committing to this sport has made it painfully clear how out of shape I am. I thought going to my yoga class once a week and occasionally doing the elliptical machine was keeping me fairly fit. That might be true, but cardiovascularly I'm a mess. After about 3 minutes of running around the field like a mad-woman, I was so dizzy that I thought I was going to pass out. I couldn't catch my breath and my lips were tingling!! In an effort not to look like a pansy, I stayed in for another 5 minutes and then thought it was a good time to give another girl a chance to play. I was so tired I could hardly lift my hand to ask for a sub. Jenn had warned me about this but I was deaf to her words of caution. Once I subbed out I went straight to the bathroom because I thought I was going to throw up. Fortunately, I kept all my fluids in my body, where they belong, and I returned to the bench to lay down for a second. The ref even asked me if I was ok. One of the other ladies on the team had pulled her quad, so that made me the only sub. I was back in for round 2. This time I did much better, primarily because I paced myself (read - hardly chased after the ball and only exerted energy when it was absolutely necessary). By the end of the game my legs were like lead and I could hardly move them. I managed to pull my groin the next day at yoga, so I was a bit of a mess for a few days. Last night's game was MUCH better. It was still a little rough, but I wasn't going into a panic due to lack of oxygen and threat of unconsciousness. Ahhhh, I love exercising...seriously.

On the other side of the spectrum, I've picked up knitting again. It's been a long time since I've taken up the needles, probably since the good ol' days of the knitting group on Cheryl's couch in LA. Man, those were good times. Well, I've formed my own little knitting group up here in Portland. It consists of me and Q-tip mama, Ellen. She's teaching me to knit these fantastic fingerless gloves. It will certainly be my most ambitious project to date, but I think I'm up to the task. They might take me several months to complete, at which time gloves might be out of season, but hey...I'll have a brand new pair for next year, right? It's especially fun because I get to hang out with Ellen in her adorable house. She's been laid up with a broken ankle for a couple of weeks, so I like to think that it's a mutually beneficial relationship. I get to enjoy her company, sandwiches, and knitting skills and she gets a break from the boredom of being couch bound. It's a win win!!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

I Love Visitors!

My favorite thing about visitors coming to town, besides the fact that I get to spend time with my out-of-town peeps, is that I get to explore my awesome city. Every time someone comes to town I realize how much I love Portland. This is partially due to the fact that I get to see Portland through newcomers' eyes and be with them when they discover how completely rad this town is. It's also because I usually get to try out something new that I've never done before. Of course, I always take people to my favorite hot spots (particularly Sloan and Mio Sushi on NW 23rd) but each time it's like I discover a new little gem in the city of Roses. This was no exception when Kathya and Sylvia came to town.

Two things have been on my list of things to do since I moved to Portland: 1) The Kennedy School (This old school house that has been converted into a great little hang-out including a restaurant, movie theater, and several little pubs, one of which is named Detention) and 2) Multnomah Falls. Kathya and Sylvia are such incredible little travellers (including their obsession with over-priced trinkets) and had the trip perfectly planned. They walked all over the city on Friday while I was at work and hit all of the Portland must-sees. I think the highlight for Sylvia was Powell's Bookstore.
Kathya was not at all happy about having to walk from Chinatown up the hill to the Japanese Gardens, only to find them closed.

Friday night we hit up the Kennedy School and, though at first felt like we should be wearing dunce caps because we couldn't really figure stuff out, ended up having a fantastic time. Sylvia kept saying, "This is definitely the most interesting thing I've EVER done!" They are now officially obsessed with all things McMenamins and are planning a return trip in which they can visit all locations. Saturday we went to the falls where we had a nice little hike, a delicious lunch, and a "brief" drive into the Gorge in search of the Bridge of the Gods. Luckily, our search for ice cream led us right to the elusive and celestial bridge so the detour wasn't in vain. We also nearly escaped death at the hands of a serial killer who was stalking us. I don't think I've ever been flipped off more times by a single person in my life. Our evening ended with a shopping spree and sushi on NW 23rd (natch) before a night of salsa dancing at Aztec Willies.
I had such a great time and I can't wait for them to come back in the Spring!!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Friendship Basket - Amy

Little Miss Amy came out for a visit a few weeks ago and we had a great time. Last time she was here I didn't take any pictures of the two of us. On this trip, I did a little better. I took one picture of Amy and my roommate Ashley. Aren't they cute?? We had a lovely little time hanging out in Portland. We closed down a little Thai place for dinner on Friday night. Had a delicious breakfast at Rose's deli and hit up the Columbia employees store for some good buys. Saturday night we went to see The Counterfeiters (which later went on to win the Academy Award for best foreign language film), and spent the night with the girls out on the town.

Really it doesn't matter what we do when Amy is around. I always have a wonderful time. She's one of those people who I can totally be myself around. I have SO much fun but can also have a good heart to heart. She's amazing.

She has also spent a lot of time in the friendship basket, so it's time to say goodbye (notice, she wasn't complaining this time that the friend had been in the basket so long). You can see her blurb and some additional pictures below. This is Amy...or as I like to call this picture "Crazy Amy". This picture is my favorite of Amy, because it captures her essence. Notice the big smile. Amy is ALWAYS a barrel of laughs. I have SO much fun when I'm around Amy, even if it's in the middle of the night and we're laughing at the phrase, "The Bombdiggity". It doesn't matter what we're doing, I'm sure to have fun when I'm around this girl. Also, notice the Jazz Hands. Amy LOVES to boogie. The girl can get down on the dancefloor like no other and she truly knows how to shake what her mamma gave her. Notice the wall behind Amy. She transformed her stinky basement bedroom into a beautiful lair with glue and brown paper bags. The girl is a genius when it comes to crafts and decorating. Her new condo in SLC is adorable and she's always on the lookout for special finds. I met Amy when I lived in Washington DC and we knew immediately that we were meant to be friends. We worked at the same place, lived across the street from each other, were in the same FHE group, and I was her visiting teacher. Even if we didn't want to be friends, we would have to be friends. The great thing is, I totally wanted to be her friend. In addition to being so fun, a great dancer, and a craft genius, Amy is one of the most loving, genuine, and thoughtful people I know. I am lucky to count her a friend and I gladly put her in my basket :)

This is another picture illustrative of Amy's excitement.
Again, notice the jazz hands!

One of my favorite things to with Aimes is travel. Here we are in NYC.

Here we are in Philadelphia on the miraculous New Years 2003 (and Amy's b-day).

Amy likes to get dressed up. Here she is as a punk.

And here she is as a bug, after rolling around in the leaves.
And here she is as a very angry pig, a pig I like to call pootsie.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Serious Fun on the High Seas

Despite being raised in land-locked Colorado, without an ocean in sight, it turns out I'm a decent deep sea fisherman, or woman if you prefer to be politically correct. I tried my hand at the rod yesterday under the clear blue sky off the Northern Pacific Coast in February. It was an unseasonably beautiful day outside of Depoe Bay. After a number of morning snafus, we finally made it onto the open sea in the early afternoon on the Clark's boat Serious Fun.
(Parenthetically - WARING: I'm about to type an entire paragraph in parentheses - I love boat names. Whenever I'm at a marina my favorite thing to do is read the names of boats. Some people can be SO creative and come up with great names for their sea faring babies. My favorite of all boat names comes from my dad's cousins Bob and Anne. When they were a young married couple, Anne was saving up to buy some rugs for their home. She'd been saving and saving her money. One day, her husband Bob decides to use the money Anne was saving for her rugs and buy a boat instead. Anne was furious, as you might guess! But to compensate, Bob named the boat Anne's Rugs. Cute, eh? I'm not sure it was really enough to make up for the blunder, but I like it nonetheless. And, they've continued to name all of their boats after the first one. I think they are now on Anne's Rugs VI).

So, I started this post over a week ago and had all kinds of clever things to say. But, now I'm bored with it, so I'll let the pictures speak for themselves, sort of:
Here's Tom chopping up the crab bait...ick.
Me with a fish head. To the left of the picture you can see the crab traps.

Me and Deneal a'fishin' off the side of the boat

Here's my biggest catch! I caught 6 fish, three of which we had to throw back because they were too small. But this guy was gigantic! I had a H of a time getting it into the boat. It's called a Cabazon (never heard of it) and was 25 inches long! I had some serious fishing mojo!!

We caught some serious crabs (in a good way). The crabbing was really fun. I felt like I was on the deadliest catch. Hauling in those pots was hard work! But well worth it...yum yum!!

This might have been the biggest crab we caught. Deneal was manhandling it for about 10 minutes. After posing for this photo she was working on cracking off the top shell, which wasn't working too well. She took a break and turned her head for a moment...

And then this happened! Ouch!

All in all, the high seas were serious fun...seriously.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

DC Trippin'...or Jumpin'??

I was well on my way to breaking New Year's Resolution #1 when I took a short weekend trip to Washington DC a few weeks ago. The justification for the trip was that my friend Shawn Lindseth was getting married. (I usually avoid using first and last names on the blog, but his is one of those names that is always first and last. Unless you want to call him Steak or Iceberg, which were the only names by which I knew him for the first few months of our acquaintance). So, back to the topic at hand...I went to DC for the wedding, but really it was just a great excuse to get away and to see some old peeps. Though the number of friends in DC has decreased drastically since I moved away 5 years ago (almost to the day), some of my favorites are still kicking around. Also, as luck would have it, the reception was being held in York, PA which happens to be the very town where my cousin is living and going to art school. So, I had 3 totally unrelated groups of people to fit into my short 3 1/2 days in town. This made the trip very worthwhile, but I was also a little stressed about being able to see all of the people and have all the good times that I knew were awaiting me there.

This time, God was on my side, and He was not about to see me break a NY Resolution less than a month into the New Year. Miraculously, I was able to see everyone and do everything that I wanted to. And, I even felt like I got good quality time with most people. So, all in all it was a fantastic trip!! I know not to tempt God again in the future, but I'm soooo glad it all worked out this time!!

I haven't been back to DC in several years and it was so fantastic to be back in the city. I stayed with Betsy, who has an adorable apartment in Dupont Circle. It made me so happy to be walking around the blustery city, taking the metro everywhere, and feeling so connected with everything around me. There is something about the city that makes me feel so alive! I couldn't wipe the smile off my face as I walked around the neighborhood. Even the sounds of the metro made me super happy and, oddly enough, made me recall some of the books I read while commuting all those years ago (particularly the long ones like Atlas Shrugged and Harry Potter).

As expected, the weekend was filled with good times! After getting hit on by a slightly creepy middle-aged man on the train from the airport, I met up with Bets at her swanky Dupont Law Firm and we had lunch at a delicious little tavern. I got to meet Betsy's friend Lincoln and have some good thought provoking conversations. We ate at a couple of fun restaurants in areas of DC that used to be super ghetto when I lived there and are now alive and thriving. We spent an
evening in Adam's Morgan, got a taste of what it feels like to be a minority at a Reggae club, and ate some jumbo pizza. We hit up all of the major touristy spots, took a jog through the National Gallery, went to the top of the Washington Monument (which I'd never done before), and of course we jumped.

This pizza is so big three of us could eat it at the same
time and not invade any personal space

The boys

The highlight of the trip was meeting up with all of the old DC peeps for dinner at Five Guys, one of my favorite old burger joints (unfortunately, I took absolutely no pictures of these events). Paul, Betsy, Elizabeth, and Lincoln always make for great company and great was as though no time at all had passed since the old days. After dinner we went over to Chris' house. He was on baby duty since the lovely Kate was on call (she's in her medical residency and just had an adorable little baby, Eva...she's a super woman!). Chris was one of my best friends from DC and I haven't seen nor spoken to him for 5 years (outside of the occasional email or voice message). Since we last parted on that snowy hill in Old Town, Chris has been on a mission, gotten married, and had a baby!! It's pretty crazy what can happen in 5 years. But it was so great to hang out and get caught up. Kate made it home before the night was over, and the bonus was that Chris' brother Jon and Jon's wife Wendy were both there too. What a reunion!!

I got to spend a lovely afternoon with Paul, who feeds my soul (and coincidentally my belly too). We took Jasmine to the dog park and ran into B-Cash (HA!) then had a nice lunch in Shirlington. Then I met back up with the wedding peeps to take the mormon fun bus up to York, PA for the wedding reception.

After numerous detours in hot pursuit of Friendly's, an East Coast diner with AMAZING ice cream delights (also featured in my favorite children's book Alexander, Who Used to be Rich Last Sunday), and a long ride on the floor of the van wedged between the two captain seats, we finally arrived at the church in York where the reception was to be held. The reception was nice, food was good, friends were fun. Highlights included a rousing rendition of Dean Martin's That's Amore, C&Os style; incredible icey punch; and being tricked into thinking that Chip (who caught the garter) had previously hooked up with the girl who caught the bouquet, making for a very awkward moment (I'm so gullible...and I was working hard to get that scoop!). The lowlight of the evening involved being forced out onto the floor for said bouquet toss. I'm too old for that crap, enough said. Mostly the evening was delightful because it was spent with my friends who I love and who are always a great good time.

Following the reception, my cousin Anna and her friends came to pick me up and we went back to Anna's apartment. It was SO fun to see her place, she's such a little grown up. They took me by her school and if I looked really hard I could see one of her art projects on the shelf through a window on the second floor. It was so great to hang out with her and her roommate. We played Disney's Scene It and I learned I know absolutely nothing about Disney movies. I couldn't even get the questions on the cards designed for the kiddies! They were helping out a bit, which did eventually lead me to a victory over Anna :) We stayed up late and chatted, then woke up early for a pancake breakfast before heading to the airport. It was so fun to hang out with Anna in PA one last time. She's almost done with school (I'm so proud of her) and then she'll be headed up to New Hampshire where she and her family are moving.

Another fantastic trip!! I don't know how I pulled it off, but I did!! I saw everyone and did everything that I wanted to. I had lots of long sit-down and catch up conversations with people. Nothing felt rushed (except perhaps for a moment on Saturday afternoon). And I had a delightful time. Thank goodness (again and again) for great friends and cool cities, two things so very close to my heart!!