Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Portland! ..and the end of my trip

I was surprised to see that Steve looks pretty much just like he did freshman year at Tech when he picked me up outside Powell's. It was a pretty great reminder of all the silly times we had in Wads.. It was great to hear that he's still super into plants and had finished his degree in botany. He's looking to get an internship at some botanical garden in HI (maybe Ho'omaluhia will have an opening!)!

We stopped to drop off all my crap (my bag is now super weighed down by all the delicious jam I got from Erin and Elly... I can't wait to open it!!!) and then we headed out for a sunset game of frisbee golf. It had been at LEAST 5 years since I'd last played (which was maybe my 2nd time playing) behind TJ and Ira's house in Hancock, but I surprised not only myself, but also Steve by how much I'd improved by the end of the course! I had a ton of fun! We were also surprised that we managed to finish the whole course before it was too dark to play... AND we didn't lose any discs (though they did try and escape a few times).

We went back to Steve's, loaded up my flash drive with new music for me, and then headed out on the town for the best burger ever and some beers around 10pm. It was good to get a feel for Portland nightlife and to have a long walk around some part of town that I'd probably be able to find on a map, but wouldn't be able to tell you the name of. =) We saw some crazy band play at a place called Valentine's, walked past another place that was ridiculously bust for a Tuesday, and ended up at another place that had a fireplace (I was pretty happy about that cause I'd gotten a bit chilly in the wind... poor me) until they gave us the boot and we headed back to Steve's.

We got back and hung out with Steve's roommate Matt who'd accomplished painting half of his room.. while drinking a good bit of beer! Needless to say we were all very entertaining to each other. Next thing I knew I was being filmed giving drunken acupuncture (there goes my career in acupuncture politics..)! We laughed a lot and all passed out to Blue Planet.

Now it's almost time for me to head to the airport.. and I have to say I'm not super excited to get back to HI, although I do have a lot of new ideas to get myself excited about for school. I'm hoping all of my old and new friends come to visit soon! I don't know that I've ever had so much fun on a vacation as I have on this one.. although Anne and I did laugh more than I'd ever thought possible while we were road tripping around MI.. and the gas war with Brian, Dave, and Jesse through the desert was pretty great too... hmm... I guess it's all about the freshness of the memories!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Train to Portland

I had quite the adventure getting to the train station this morning! I ended up missing my bus because I was screwing around trying to find something like nail clippers to attend to my bleeding stubbed toe. I was understandably irritated by the fact that I heard bus go by and had to call Chris and Elly to figure out what to do.

I felt terrible and irresponsible because Elly had to get a zipcar and come get me and drive me to the train station. I made it with 5 minutes to get to the train. Good thing trains aren't like airplanes!!

I lucked out and was seated next to an amazing grandma named Kate. She was really great and we ended up talking for most of the ride. I realized at some point that I was in the caboose and got all excited - when I was little I was crazy about cabooses! I had to call my mom and give her the trip update, complete with caboose excitement!

It was good to voice all the things that have been coming together for me. I really don't feel like I need to move now that I've seen the pacific northwest. I've been feeling drawn to this area for the last 10 years, and had even wanted to move to this area before I moved to Hawaii, but wasn't able to find a job... but I'd never actually been here. It's been great to actually get to experience it, even though it's only for a week! Nice that I'm getting to see the best weather time of year too.. I'll have to make sure to come visit Anne during the dreary rainy season!! I love big trees in the rain!! ..and eating soup!

So while I was talking to Gma Kate, we started talking about Powell's Books. Now she's the 3rd or 4th person to tell me that I HAVE to go to this place while I'm in Portland so that's it. I'm going. And she told me she'd walk me there after we got off the train since she was going there anyway.

I made arrangements with Steve to meet him there and off we went!

We walked through the Pearl district and she left me at a soup restaurant across the street from the largest bookstore in the country.

The soup was pretty delicious and fueled me for me 3 hour stint in one corner of one floor. I looked at the Chinese language section, the Taoism section, the breast cancer section, and the self-help sex section... next thing I knew it was 5:00!!

Steve came and met me and my next adventure began!!






video
While I was on the train, I realized that movies were the best way to capture the experience. It was just too difficult to try and take pics. So here's a movie of one of the many bridge crossings - they were my favorite!

Seattle

I had a very lazy morning today. It was great to be able to sleep in finally after all the early days since Santa Cruz. I did feel kinda guilty though that Elly and Chris had to get up and go to work, but what can you do?

Anyway, so I got a note from them to call when I got downtown and we'd go to lunch. Excellent!

I eventually got myself out the door, armed with maps and bus schedules, got on the right bus and was on my way.


I had a nice little adventure finding them down in the marketplace area (it wasn't difficult - gotta love cell phones) and we had an awesome lunch at a Turkish deli - I had a borek (?) I think, chicken and it was one of the most wonderful things I've ever had. The chicken was super moist and flavorful and it was all wrapped inside of phyllo dough. yum! We also had a square each of rose flavored turkish delight which reminded me of corn based mochi. I loved it!

After lunch, I spent my time wandering around the public marketplace. I looked at everything (except the fish) and ended up buying a new toe ring. I'd lost the one I'd had since I was 15 soon after moving to HI at magic island because I forgot to take it off... stupid!

After I got through the market, I headed down to the waterfront to take some pics and head towards the sculpture park.

I ended up getting a little confused at the park and thought it was only very small. I did enjoy some of the sculptures were pretty cool - like the metal tree and the rusty waves.

Something about the sun and the nice looking grass at the park (plus this group of girls I saw sleeping) was making me very tired. I finished walking around and found myself a snuggly looking spot to write postcards before laying out my hoodie to enjoy a short nap. While I was writing the postcards, my friend Steve called from Portland! He and I hadn't spoken since 1999! Crazy! We made plans to meet up in Portland after I got off the train. I'll be crashing at his place tomorrow night. It's going to be interesting!

Here's a pic of my toe ring for Cassie.... ;) try to control yourself!

The half wakeful nap in the grass was pretty fun. It kinda felt like being at the beach because of the heat of the sun, but there were a lot of people walking by all the time (it was quitting time and people were getting some exercise) and I really enjoyed listening in to the 10-15 second snippets of conversation as they walked by.




I was just getting a little restless when Elly called saying they were going to be heading home soon and did I want to have some Thai food tonight.. it's like she read my mind! I love Thai!

I had a small adventure getting the bus back to Chris and Elly's house (missed it and didn't know I had to catch the next one in a new location!) but it was all good and they'd been considerate and had waited for me before eating.

I got to meet Chris, Elly, and Erin's friend Anne Catherine (strange to meet another anne catherine from seattle..) who's a chef - interesting stories from cruise ship living too!

The food was good and spicy and overall I'm just pumped that I got to come up here and see another wonderful possible place for me to consider living when I'm finished with school.

These are the cherries that we picked yesterday before we left Hood River for good!! I didn't want to stop picking!! They look like jewels.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Decision Time

This morning we had another world class breakfast and all got going a little later. We had to decide who was going where with who - well, I had to decide where I was going. My three choices were: 1. go back and couchsurf in Portland by myself so I could get a feel for the place, maybe catch a couple herb classes at OCOM, 2. head to the coast with pete, laurie, and tony for surfing and camping, and 3. head up to Seattle with elly, chris, and erin, get to see WA and then take the train back to portland to fly out wednesday.

I decided to go with #3 for a few reasons - mainly that I didn't have any camping gear, and I wasn't sure I could get a ride back to pdx for my flight, I've always wanted to see Seattle, and the train ride sounded like more fun than I could handle. Plus, I wanted more time to hang.

We bummed for the day, I treated Elly, we headed to Ron and Meredith's to hang with them for a bit, then all caravaned into Portland for dinner before the final separation for me. Dinner was excellent and all to soon I had to say good bye to Pete, Laurie, and Tony.

The ride back to Seattle was a good time though and I got to talk a lot of story with Erin. It was interesting for me to realize on that ride that even though I'd been friends with all these people for almost 10 years, I didn't really know them all that well. We'd all been around the same people, been at the same parties, maybe even worked together, but I'd never really sat down and had a real talk with any of them. It felt really good to be getting the opportunity to do that throughout the weekend and especially on the car ride to seattle.

We didn't get in until very late and we were all pretty excited to get to sleep.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Ronaldo and Meredith's Wedding!

This was the view where the ceremony and reception were held. The building was a log cabin style big fancy house that I think can be rented for vacationers and such. Whatever it was, it was beautiful.

We'd all gotten snazzed up for the event (I actually wore my big-ass heels that I got with Jesse, but forgot to ask anyone to get a picture of me), so I made sure to get some really good pics of people... looking into the sun. Special K made my favorite face =)

A lot of my pics aren't perfect lighting masterpieces - I wanted to get both the mountain and the people which isn't really possible. I'm too lazy to spend the time figuring out the gimp so until I do, I have to deal.



Rose, K, and Chris are looking pretty!













As are Pete and Laurie.. (thanks Chris)













So the ceremony was super cute, our hearts were all swollen and we were teary eyed by the end, but the huge smiles all around told the real story.
Ron and Meredith are organic basil farmers, so instead of flower girls, they had basil kiddies spreading fresh basil in front of the bride. I have to say it was the most fragrant wedding I've been to.

Speaking of fragrant, I don't know if I've ever stuffed myself so completely at a wedding. The food was fantastic. It was partially catered and partially potluck style. I couldn't get enough!


In the end, the band was energetic and fun and lots of people were dancing around. Ron's parents stole the show as they were doing their best Fred and Ginger impressions, entertaining all of the guests with their energy and obvious joy. I even got to see some older people doing the twist! I had so much fun - especially cause I got to wear my new hoodie!!

I will say that this was one of the most fun weddings I've been to.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Hood River Livin

After last night, I knew I had to get something warm to make sure that I was going to be able to have fun after the sun goes down tonight. We all made plans to go check out town after one of the best breakfasts EVER (I love that all my friends are foodies like me). I wanted to buy a hoodie at least and we were all interested in a little wine tasting before the wedding.

We also ended up getting to catch a little of the Gorge Games which were going on in town while we were there. We caught a slalom skateboard race or two on the way to the Full Sail brewery where I finally found the perfect hoodie! YAY!

I have to say that it's awfully nice here. I really like this town and it's whole feel. I can't help but think that this is pretty close to the kind of place that I'll be looking for some time in my future (after school and all that). I'm finding that I REALLY like Oregon.. enough that I'm feeling a strong sentiment of "fuck california!" I don't really want to live there! If I keep feeling this way, then I'm really not going to worry about switching schools or wanting to practice in cali. I think I'd want to be just a little more north.

Anyway! After town we wandered to a few wineries and enjoyed some fine samples. In the end, we all liked Wy'east the best (I think) and ended up staying for a while until it was time to get dressed and get the show on the road.

Girly Squealing Galore

I met up with Petey and Laurie at PDX and we headed out to Hood River. We made our way to the Draper Girls Farm where we were all (me, pete and laurie, chris and rowzee, erin and tony, and elly and chris) going to stay for the weekend.
We all knew the farm house was on a fruit farm, but the number of cherry trees was pretty awesome - as was the view! Plus there were raspberries, blueberries, and later in the year peaches!

I always get excited to hang with friends so a gathering of this many definitely got me going!!


We all had some wine and chatted (that's Erin with me at the picnic table) until it was time to head back into town for the rehearsal dinner.

No one really knew what to expect cause Ron's quite the unique character... what kind of wedding is this going to be??

The dinner was to be held at the White Buffalo on the other side of the highway from downtown Hood River.



We got there pretty much on time. We all got ourselves some drinks and sat around meeting up with a couple of people we hadn't seen yet (like Special K!) and talking about those who were yet to show up (Chris and Elly). Most of all we were reliving Ronaldo stories and whether or not they were appropriate for a family audience... ;)

Rose, Pete, and Tony had a list going and when we sat down to eat, the games began. We had all been tending towards the idea of having to self-censor, but the moment Ron's dad got up there and started talking, we knew it was all going to be pretty much fair game.

It took a while before Rose, Tony, and Pete got a chance to take the mic, and we were all cramped with laughter by then too. I've never been to a wedding or rehearsal dinner where the story telling and toasting was all aimed at being more of a "roast" type of event (started by the parents) rather than a sentimental summation of who the two are and how they're perfect for each other. We got the same image, but mostly through mischief!


I have to say that I've never laughed so hard at anything like it. The stories were so much fun, I wish I could have recorded them.
All the silliness was especially effective at making me feel like I knew Ron and Meredith much better by the end of the night than I had when I showed up a couple of hours earlier. It's always fun to meet people's parents as well, and man, Ron's parents were hilarious!
Also, Chris and Elly finally made it in from Seattle after getting stuck in some serious traffic. Unfortunately, they missed all the stories, but were still in time for plenty of beer and pizza!


In the end, we (mostly me - I wasn't prepared for the sunset temp drop) succumbed to the cold and the wind (damn the wind!) and headed back to the farm armed with two most giant pizzas that smelled delicious. There we had a nice fire and ate loads of cherries!

Friday, July 18, 2008

I surfed his couch

So when i got off the plane in Portland, I had my first adventure of traveling on my own. While I was at jesse's, I'd written down all the directions I needed to get to Mike's house in Portland using the public transit. It worked surprisingly well! Imagine that, public transit isn't frustrating places other than Hawaii...

anyway, I made it to this house and met some interesting people. as I didn't take any pictures, I think it'd be difficult to really say too much about them other than I didn't know any of them when I got there, but i soon found out that they were great and I felt very comfortable. I got out the door at this morning and made it to the open house at OCOM which was very interesting.

I was quite excited listening to OCOM's clinic guy talk about their research program until he said that most students don't have time to participate. junk. Other than that, it was good stuff overall , but while I was expecting to feel a resonance with the school or the people, I found myself getting excited thinking about changes to ask about at WMI.

after I was finished at OCOM (and after running into makin'bacon's brother - random!), I was off again to PDX to meet up with Pete and Laurie (YAY!) and off to Hood River.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Flights to Seattle and Portland

Jesse dropped me off at Oakland Airport this morning for the start of the second part of my west coast adventure.
All I could see out the window of the plane were all the places in California that are on fire. I used some dave and jesse tricks on this pic to above so that all the stuff can be seen better.

For some silly reason, I had to fly to Seattle in order to get to Portland - I was slightly annoyed by this until I was actually flying over Northern California and realized that I was lined up perfectly to see many of the Cascade volcanoes.

It's so fun to have my geo-buttons tickled every once in a while!

Say, hello! to Lassen..

This one was so interesting because it looks to me like a much steeper version of Haleakala with glaciers. So interesting to see all of the vegetation stop at such a distinct line. Lassen's summit is at 10,457'. I didn't know that Lassen last erupted in 1914-1915 (after 27,000 years of dormancy!!! who thought that was even possible??!!)- if you're interested I encourage you to read about it on Wikipedia! I thought it was pretty cool.

I couldn't believe it, but i got to fly over Crater Lake too! The air was a little too hazy for me to be able to get a really good shot, but there it is!
I was surprised to see that there were places that still had snow.



Three Sisters, tallest peak is South Sister at 10,363'.




Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Adams














Mt. Rainer






I later found out this stuff on the water is a red tide.. I kept looking for a very silty river flowing into the Sound and imagine that, but there isn't one.

It was pretty interesting too see all the shapes the algae made. Actually red tides are caused by some kind of dinoflagellate if i remember properly from botany class freshman year (what a cool class!)

When i got into Seattle, I had enough time for a bread boule of chicken noodle soup (it was ok) and an Alaskan amber... oh man that was delicious.

It was also very interesting eavesdropping on the conversations at the bar. The bartender and one of the guys at the bar (i have to say the patrons of this particular bar were not the sharpest) kept talking about what one of the women that had been sitting at the bar would look like without her labcoat on (she was a chemist).

Anyway, the beer was good, I texted a hello to anne from her city, and I managed to make my plane to Portland with no problems.


I was on a little prop plane to Portland and I got some more cool shots of the red tide and the cuts boats made through it ...




And lastly this cool riverbed.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A Walk To the Beach

Yesterday, I woke up lazily many times between 7 and 10am, but finally got myself off the futon by about 10:30. I putzed and ate breakfast, checked my email, and began again the process of festering about my future which has been plaguing me for the last 2 months. I wasn't getting very far, so I decided I needed to get out of the house and see a bit of Santa Cruz on my own. I couldn't decide if I wanted to go for a walk with the camera, or go for a short run, or try and fit in both with a shower (I'm an indecisive girl, my poor gall bladder) .. so I decided to go for a long walk after a shower since it was getting late.


So I grabbed the camera and after starting out and getting all excited by one of Jesse's neighbor's plum trees, I found that I'd forgotten the memory card in Jesse's computer and had to run back for it.
I was so amazed by peoples gardens here! They have so many fun plants! The other day I was walking to the Food Bin (while talking to Anne) and managed to stop and smell almost all the flowers. There are so many roses in this town it's ridiculous. And they all smell amazing. Anyway, back to my walk. It was also, excitingly for me, succulent garden paradise - so many cute little cacti to pinch!!

I LOVE hens and chickens (that's the name of the plant pictured above). It's a great one to pinch - although you have to be gentle! There were many more, but my pics weren't always on..

Then I found a magnolia tree. They are so amazing. The flowers are HUGE! I took a couple of scale pics, but they're not pretty.. this one is though!!


I made it to West Cliff Drive and walked along the ocean, enjoying the wind and the cool air. I watched some surfers for a while and was amazed how different surfing in Cali is compared to Hawaii. I don't know if yesterday was just an off day, but the waves move so SLOW!
I passed the statue of the surfer and stopped to watch a couple of otters play for a while. I snapped a lot of pics, but the Z1 sucks at focusing while zoomed in far, so only 2 of the 10 or so pics I took turned out. They looked like they were having fun.

Once I got down to the main area of the boardwalk, I got myself a small icecream (oh yeah) and found the best eye-candy appreciation area I've ever found. Unfortunately for me, I'm a chicken shit and was too shy to blatently take pics.. maybe I'll go back today....... hmm.... anyway! I stopped there and wrote some thoughts about my to move or not to move situation for a while before heading back to Jesse's to make some butternut squash soup. All in all it was a great day.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Shoes

Yesterday, after my San Jose Five Branches visit, Jesse and I went out for Brazilian breakfast food (yes, even though it was 3pm) and it was DELICIOUS.
Across the street, was a vintage clothing shop and Jesse, always on the look-out for burning man garb was on the easily talked into being on the prowl. Little did I know that I was going to be taunted by a pair of 3 or 4" platform sandals... luckily they were only $10 and I'm hoping I can turn them into some kind of halloween nonsense. Otherwise I'll have to wear them to clean the house or something.


Anyway, they couldn't fit me better (imagine that cause they're size 6) and Jesse (always quick with the compliments) was there to remind me how good they'd look with a mini skirt (If I ever got the nerve to don that kind of outfit) for when I'm on the prowl for a man over 6' tall.. I'm down with that!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Wow.

I didn't know about this, but it's hilarious and you should watch it...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hnZb5wi_jsU

Just another day at the office

Today we had another field trip at Coconut. We took a boat out to 'Sunken City' and snorked around. It was great. The water was warm and there were lots of corals to say hello too. Visibility wasn't great, but we're in Kaneohe Bay, what do you really expect?
The Sunken City is the rusty remains of what looks like a gazebo. Years ago it sunk beneath the ocean and has since become encrusted with lots of coral and provides a fun little play land for the surrounding fishies.
We brought a waterproof camera, so I'm hoping I can steal some pics and post them later!

Friday, July 4, 2008

I really like old people

For the 4th of July this evening I went over to my friend Ann's house (not Anne, but Ann whom I work with at Coconut) and had dinner with her and her parents Elin and Fred (Fred volunteers out at Coconut). It was one of the most delicious homemade pizzas I've ever had with super tasty date bars for dessert. Yum. And ginger green tea for after dessert.
It was so nice to get some surrogate grandma and grandpa time. I really miss my grandparents. They all died WAY too young for my taste (although my grandma Ross was 92, but I was only 21) and I don't feel I got enough time and stories from them. I just love listening to feisty old people telling me how it was back in the day. I can't help but think about all the things that it was expected for people to do by hand, and how things like cars weren't taken for granted, and the different ways people thought of education and what was considered valuable. It's difficult to hear their stories and not look around and feel like we, as a country, have really gone down the toilet. I love that older people, and especially the feisty ones are just as mad about everything as people my age, only I think that more of them are better educated than we young people are. Even with all of our technology, I don't feel that most people my age use it for learning about current events - myself included! I only listen to 1 news program - it's all I can handle! Much more than that and I get all depressed.

Anyway, my point was about grandparents and how hanging out with old people has always made me happy. I remember the old guy, Jack, who used to rent the upstairs of my grandma Ross's house. I used to really like to go up and hang out with him and watch tv. I don't remember what we would talk about, I just remember I liked it - probably because he liked the company and let me be myself.
Since my last grandparent died in 2004, I've distinctly felt their absence. I like that once people get over a certain age, they really don't care what the rest of the population thinks and they pretty much do what they want to do. They've (hopefully) found the things they know they really like in life and they're trying to soak up as much as they can with much enthusiasm. And they enjoy young people so much it seems, especially grandkids and anyone who's interested in the stories they have to tell.

Sitting on Elin, Fred, and Ann's lanai watching the marine corps fireworks tonight was just perfect. They live right on Kaneohe Bay and the reflections and breeze off the water was just the most pleasant thing I'd felt for a while. Something about some old people's houses is so comfortable to me. It feels like a home I guess. Not an apartment that is a transitory place. Not a new house that was just moved in to, but a real home full of lives' worth of history.

Garden!

I wish I would have brought my camera to the garden with me today, but unfortunately it didn't occur to me that the before and after was going to be so AMAZING!! I kick ASS at weeding. I'd forgotten the tenacity with which I can pull unsuspecting little plants from the areas they're not supposed to be inhabiting. All the little old ladies were impressed.

So we (dna and I) now have a 7' x 14' area swath of soil waiting to be sown with all kinds of beautiful and delicious little living things for us to eat and enjoy! We will love them, tend to their every need, nourish them, and then.. then my friends, we will eat them! I imagine that's the attitude of livestock farmers (owners? ranchers? whatever they're called). Anyway, I'm very excited.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

quote

"Programming today is a race between software engineers striving to build bigger and better idiot-proof programs, and the Universe trying to produce bigger and better idiots. So far, the Universe is winning."

-Rick Cook

I love anything that says that stupid people are multiplying at a scary rate!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

letter

I'm getting very bored of my current situation of limbo. I don't want to think anymore about where I'm going to be living, how much it's going to cost, whether my education is good enough, how much do I like Hawaii, do I want to go somewhere else... and all the weighing and sorting of my life. Totally bored. I don't want to talk about it anymore which is making me not want to be bothered with making any decisions. Unfortunately, I've taken that road a few too many times recently and am disgusted with that as well. And all the times I have this same set of thoughts I've just laid out I'm left thinking that it's such an annoying, crazy, interesting, weird place I'm in right now. Everywhere I turn I'm confronted with things that I both don't want to look at but can't help but see the overall lesson that I could take away if I just dealt with it. It's great! but completely irritating all at once.

So a friend wrote me the other day asking how everything was going for me and I was surprised at what came out of me just a few minutes ago and I decided it captured a vantage point that I hadn't seen before and I wanted to share it:

It's been so interesting the last couple of months. really quite ridiculous, as no other description works for me. Everything in my life continues to behave in a sort of suspended, oscillating reality waiting for me to choose my own adventure and I'm finding that I've been trying very hard to worm out of the choice for a long time. Only now I'm completely cornered and it's time that I accept responsibility for my life, but I'm still looking for a way out even though I know that the only way out is to make my choice. I just wish there was some way of knowing that you made the right choice before it's too late.. but then I guess that's why there are those people out there who are always saying that it's never too late.