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!!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Greatest Snow on Earth?

Anyone who knows me is aware of the fact that I HATE the Utah license plate slogan, "Ski Utah, Greatest Snow on Earth." I mostly hate it because I think it's a little cocky and we all know that the greatest snow on earth is in Colorado. At least that's what I thought until yesterday, when I experienced the greatest snow of my entire life right here in Oregon.

I finally got up on the mountain for a little snowboarding. Sadly it was my first time up this year. Gladly, it was AMAZING!! We went to Meadows on Mt. Hood and they had just been dumped on. There were 12 inches of new snow from the day before and they got another 19 on the day we were riding. They had the largest base in the country at 200". I've never ridden in such incredible powder.

It snowed for most of the day and at times it was total white out conditions, but it was so worth it for fresh tracks all day long. You can only imagine how I got worked by the powder since it was my first time up this year. All I have to say is that the muscles around my jaw were sore the next day! What?? Apparently it was a tense workout to keep up with all of my friends, avoid getting stuck in thigh deep powder, and scoot along the flat parts. But we found some incredible runs that made you feel like you were floating on a big white fluffy cloud. Incredible.

I would include pictures, but they would probably look something like this:

Thursday, February 7, 2008


Before moving to Portland, I was really worried that the winter months would be long and dreary and wet. I won't lie. It's been wet. But, it has been far from long and dreary! This is mostly due to the fact that I've had lots of visitors and have taken a couple of mini-trips since the New Year began. Who knew so many people would want to visit Portland in the winter?? You can read about some of the visitors in the previous post and I'm sure in posts that are to come. Now on to the trips:

In the middle of January, a group of friends from Oregon rented a beach house on the Oregon Coast and had a little weekend getaway. It was so great. It reminded me a little of our beach trips to North Carolina when I lived in DC (except that it was a little chillier, there was no hammock, and no beach houses could ever compare to the places in Duck). What this house did have, was a fantastic hot tub that overlooked our own private little cove.

We spent a lot of time hot tubbin' and hanging around the house. On Saturday, we took a trip into Newport and had a yummy breakfast, walked around the shops, bought some delicious salt water taffy, and visited with the locals. Ignacio took some time to molest a gigantic bear.

After that, we went to check out this great lighthouse.

And then we went to play on the beach.

And of course we jumped. What would a trip be without jumping??

The Oregon Coast is incredibly beautiful with lush greenery, impressive cliffs, and wide beaches. It's not exactly the beach I was used to in LA and it generally requires several more layers of clothing. But, I never cease to be amazed by the mighty Pacific and love spending time near the ocean whenever I can. Hopefully we'll be making a return trip in a few weeks!

The DC trip really deserves a post of its own. Stay tuned!!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Three Way Hug

You've already probably read all about Ryan and Cheyney's visit to Portland at the end of January if you are a regular reader of their blog. They are two of my favorite people and are high on the list of my favorite couples. Aren't they cute??

We had so much fun! I always love it when people come to visit me because it gives me a chance to explore the city. Despite the FREEZING cold temperatures, we went to the Japanese Gardens, which were quite beautiful. They sit up in the west hills and offer amazing views of the city. Once our lips were numb from the cold, we went to get some delicious sushi at my favorite sushi place in Portland (and a regular stop on Miss Renee's Official Tour of Portland...I think I've taken every person who's visited me to this fine establishment.). And, since Mio Sushi sits right in the heart of 23rd, of course we had to do a little shopping...and then get gelato. I've had a bit of a Pavlovian response to eating sushi since I moved to Portland. Since there is a delicious gelato place right around the corner, we started going there for dessert every time we went to get sushi. So now, every time I eat sushi I have a STRONG hankering for some gelato. I'd like to think I'm above conditioned responses...but apparently not. I'm just like Pavlov's salivating dogs.

We finished off the night with a quick trip to Beaverton Bakery for some treats and then an evening with Ryan's brother and his family. They were SO cute...I loved it. We had a delicious dinner and I got a taste of what it's like to have FHE with kids, including a rambunctious 3 year old that needed to be contained within the death grip of his father's thighs at one point. I realized that night that I've really only had FHE with young single adults, or the occasional family with grown children. It taught me a thing or two about the difficulties and joys that can come from families.

The weekend was filled with great company, late night talks, and a whole lot of catching up. It was so fun to reconnect with such great friends! I missed you guys the minute we parted ways! But, I love having visitors! I've had more people come see me in the last 8 months in Portland than I did the whole time in LA...I love it! I'm really looking forward to upcoming visits from Amy this weekend, Kathya and Sylvia later in the month, and Emily in April! If anyone else wants to come up for a visit, my doors are always open!!