Tuesday, July 28, 2009

a very oregon weekend

so i went to oregon for the weekend to see my friends, my hometown, and go to my 10-year hs reunion. i got to portland thursday evening and then drove down with my two good hs friends courtney and laurel. it was fun driving down--especially once we got off i-5. i forgot how beautiful it is around the loon lake area. then, of course, it got foggy/cloudy when we got to winchester (ie we got within about 30 minutes of north bend). that was how it always was--so i was glad that hadn't changed.

we were staying at laurel's mom's house, which has a great view of the bay (and i took advantage of that many times). we got there friday afternoon and met up with some other friends (liz and her mark and jessica) and we all piled into jessica's car and i got to see the house i grew up in. i have to admit that i was unpleasantly surprised. the house (and neighborhood for that matter) looked shabby and not in great repair. they had also cut down most of the trees around the house. you could also see that they must park a truck in the front yard (ie there were tire tracks). the only good thing i could see was they had extended out the backyard by cutting back the blackberry bushes that were always so unruly. but even that's sad since who doesn't want to have blackberries just out your back door?

here are the pictures of my house. many might not care about these...but i know at least my family will.

you'll see here all of the trees that were cut down. from memory, i'm guessing that they cut down at least 7 trees. i just can't imagine why you'd want to cut them down.

ironically, the two trees they decided not to cut down were these two shore pines that are now enormous. personally, i don't think they look very good.

this shows how windy and cold it is. it's easy to forget that it can honestly be so cool somewhere during the summer.

so friday night we had a delicious quiche that laurel's mom, kate, cooked for us. she's such a great cook! and then we went to a reunion opening social at a bar in town. walking into the bar was the only time i was nervous during all of the reunion craziness. it was all very sudden and weird to see people. but i got over that pretty quickly. it was a bit weird at times, but overall i had a good time. the funniest thing, to me, was that a number of people said they didn't/hadn't recognized me. but i guess glasses and short red hair may do that.

this is our group prior to the bar outing.

saturday we went out to a bbq and then to my favorite beach. it was cloudy, foggy, cool, windy--basically just the way you'd expect it to be and want it to be.

me and my friends courtney and laurel at sunset beach. i got my feet in the water, and (on accident) got my pants wet too when a little sneaker wave got me.

this is the little river that flows into the ocean. when b was here with me before we got married, he was shocked at how freezing the water was. after getting used to the cold mountain rivers here in utah, it didn't feel so cold...although still way to cold to do much than just look at it.

that night we went to the "main event" at the local casino. and it really was a lot of fun. next door to our room was the neighboring town's 1999 hs reunion event going on. they had hired a dj--so when the dividers were removed between the two 99 reunion events, me and my friends went over and danced to their dj's tunes (but only when they were good. there really was no reason to dance to the two john cougar mellancamp songs he played.) and then we their dj was done we played several songs from courtney's ipod. and when that happened, we actually got quite a few of the nb'ers out on the dance floor dancing. it was great. i haven't danced like that in a long time.

after the casino thing ended, we went over to a new dance club in coos bay. it was not very impressive and the music (other than mj's billie jean) wasn't good, but it was fun to dance a bit more. then we went to a local diner that stays open 24 hours (perhaps the only that does now). it was a fun night, but i didn't get to bed until about 5am--sunday am that is. so it was a very short morning since i had decided to attend the first hour of church so i could see my old ward and some people. church started at 9--so i got 3 hours of rest (note i didn't say sleep). it was good to go see the church building and some people. the ward has changed a lot, and i didn't recognize a lot of people, but it was interesting.

on sunday, court, laurel and i drove back up to portland. then on monday laurel and i went to a crazy goodwill where you buy clothes by the pound. we got a huge bag full of stuff for only $14. then we met up with court at an indonesian place in the city. with the last of my oregon time, court and i hung out at powell's. it was too hot to try to do anything outside.

so, all-in-all it was a great time. there were some weird moments, but i expected that (especially given that i was attending a hs reunion). it was good to see nearly everybody. i reconnected with people i knew well and people i didn't know too well back in the day. north bend was still very much the same in many ways, but there were definite changes as well. the biggest change, for me, was my house. i want to go back there when i have more time, and i want to take brian with me so that he can get more familiar with the area and people. hopefully it won't take 7.5 years before that happens!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

going home

so, after nearly 7.5 years, i'm finally going back to oregon. the last time i went back home i was in college and on break for the slc olympic games. it was february, and (as you'd probably guess), it was cool and rainy.

i've missed oregon a lot over the past years. i'm glad that my parents left since north bend would have been a difficult place for them to retire in, but it's still sad that no one is still there to make me go back for visits.

but it's the big day! the picture above is an iconic picture of the southern oregon coast where i'm from. isn't it beautiful. i can't wait to see the beach, the trees (yes, fir trees!), see how my town has changed, see my friends, see my old house, go to church at the old chapel (well not the really old chapel, but the one that i went to during most of my childhood), seeing my hs, ect...the only sad part is that the world's best doughnut place closed down a few years ago. they had the best maple bars. ever.

i'll post some pics when i get back! yea!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

the departed

b and i watched this scorcese movie that came out a few years ago. it was really intense with a great story and strong characters. i've been thinking about it a lot today. if you find it on tv sometime, i'd recommend it as long as you don't mind intensity, violence, death, blood, weirdly dubbed over swear words, ect.

and btw it has some great boston accents. last night everything i said seemed to come out in a badly-rendered boston accent.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

a good burrito is a beautiful thing

last week brian and i were going out to get thai food, but noticed there was a new mexican place next door to the thai place we had been planning on frequenting. we wandered in just to see what they had and, after trying a free sample of their coconut horchata (which, btw, was better than you would even expect it to be), decided to give their burritos a try. and, oh, they were good. really good. and if you know me, you know i love a good burrito. after living in charlottesville, i thought they weren't difficult to come by. but then we moved to provo, and i realized that that was just not true.

but, now there is a great burrito place here in town. it makes me feel better to know that they're here--just a 5-minute drive away. it makes utah feel more like home.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

a good 4th of july weekend

i had last friday off so b and i decided to get out of town and do some serious birding. we got up early and drove up to the bear river migratory bird refuge. although it's summer (and not peak migration time) we saw a total of 38 different kinds of birds (out of about 62 summer residents). and 21 of those 38 were new birds! below is the list of new ones.

eared grebe
double crested cormorant
northern pintail
northern shoveler
blue-winged teal
ruddy duck
snowy egret
black-crowned night heron
white-faced ibis
sandhill crane
american avocet
snowy plover
long-billed curlew
common snipe
wilson's phalarope
western sandpiper
california gull
franklin's gull
bank swallow
marsh wren

an american avocet feigning an injury--probably to keep us away from the nest.

this one was my favorite: the black-crowned night heron. when i first saw it through my binoculars, i was blown away. it's red eyes are intense.

the ruddy duck was fun. we both had this in our top three favorite birds of the day. it's blue beak is cool.

after we were done birding, we went into logan. we had a good time there doing sundry things including going to the dairy and getting root beer- and mango-flavored milk, cheese curds, and creamed raspberry honey. that was quite a lunch.

we also went to logan zoo and saw b's grandparents house. it's quite different than it used to be. we finished our logan-time by going up into the canyon. we found a beautiful spot that we'll have to go back to to do some swimming/bbq'ing.

on saturday, the 4th, we went on a hike/fishing trip up in a nearby canyon. and b caught 7 fish although we only brought 2 home. and 1 of them was a cutthroat...if you can imagine. here's b with his proud, proud cutthroat.

on sunday, we went up into another canyon (three in one weekend) and happened across a giant puffball. unfortunately it was too far along (ie past its prime) to eat, but b spread it around the lawn so that (fingers crossed) we'll have a yard menagerie of giant puff balls! (btw, a puffball is an edible mushroom.)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

bad luck / good luck

we went out to try our luck at fishing last night and discovered that we didn't have too much of it. brian did catch a fish, but it was too small. i had two bites and saw a trout following my lure, but no dice. it was pretty disappointing.

before heading back home empty-handed, we thought we'd go check our old fishing spot. we didn't see any fish there, but we did spot a lot of american redstarts. it may be surprising to our gentle readers that we've never seen one (given that they're pretty much all over the us), but it was our first time. as you can see it's a good-looking bird.

so, at least we had some good luck last night...