Sunday, September 28, 2008

Jeep trip to Tillamook State Forest/Browns Camp

Hey everyone, it's Paul and I'm finally making a post for all of you Paul, Jenny, and Buckley fanboys out there. I'm sure most of you know about my jeep, but for those of you who don't or, might be interested in what I have, here's a link to some pictures and details of my 88 YJ on, a 4x4 forum here in the PNW.

Anyway, yesterday I met up with a Chris, Trevor, and Ray from timbercrawler in Glenwood, about 35 miles from downtown Portland. Glenwood is just inside the Tillamook State Forest (TSF) located in the coastal range. Just a few miles from Glenwood is Browns Camp and a trailhead for the TSF OHV area, which has over 100 miles of trails that range from dirt roads to ridiculously large boulders and intense hill climbs.

Entering TSF OHV Area:

Chris was in the white xj, and Trevor and Ray were in Trevor's zj. Both of them had lockers front and rear, so I was hoping I wouldn't have too much trouble keeping up, since I have stock axles with open diffs.

We made our way out to Archers Firebreak, which starts with some pretty cool rockcrawling:

This was a pretty intense section of trail, but I managed to make it must of the way down before high centering on a boulder in the center of the trail after my tire slipped off the side of it.

Here's the boulder I managed to get stuck on:

My jeep:
We continued down up Archer's until we came to the next major obstacle, which is Can Opener. Most of the trails in TSF are well marked with nice signs that include the trail name and it's difficulty level. This pic's for Chad:

Here's Chris coming up Can Opener:

This buggy came up soon after, it has an airbag suspension, front and rear steering Dana 60s, and a turbo'ed Buick V6, on 44" TSLs:

There were a lot more tough obstacles that we ran including some tight off-camber hill climbs. We ended up at this summit that has some pretty incredible views:

My dirty jeep at the summit, right before heading home:

TSF is pretty incredible and the pictures really don't do the experience of wheeling there justice. It's an awesome experience and I'm really excited that it's so close to Portland. I also noticed that there are severaly vineyards on the drive between Portland and Browns Camp. Maybe you'll see a rockcrawling/wine tasting post from us in the future, if I can get Jenny to come with me. I definitely plan to bring Buckley along too sometime.

I'm deaf today

Just got home from a really busy day at work. Wowza. Sundays are usually pretty busy for brunch, but it got up to about 85 degrees today so everyone came out to sit on our patio. We were rockin'! Another exciting twist to the day... out on the street behind the restaurant, this vintage Porsche burst into flames. It was quite the spectacle. No one got hurt, but the car was toast (literally). The owner of the car came in after the whole scene to use the restroom, so we decided to buy him a beer. :)

So we've had a pretty fun couple of nights! We checked out this bar called Shanghai Tunnel that had been recommended to us. This place has a major creepy factor, given it's history. Back in the late 19th/early 20th century there were a series of underground tunnels throughout the downtown area connecting the bars and hotels to the riverfront. The tunnels were used to "Shangai" people to be sold as slaves on the ships - they would be dropped down through trap doors (deadfalls). If you were totally wasted at a local bar, there was a pretty good chance you would wake up on a ship. The tunnels are still there, and you can take walking tours through them (which I want to do soon). I think they are supposedly haunted. Seems like everything in Portland is supposedly haunted though.

Shanghai Tunnel the bar is located in one of the tunnels. It's pretty cool... good atmosphere, good music and really good food. We played some pinball, which I hadn't done in forever!

Paul even turned $1 into $13 on the video lottery! You can find these machines almost everywhere. It's kind of crazy. They have video poker, line games, etc. We actually have like six of them at VQ, which I still can't help but feel is kind of odd.

Last night I met up with our friend Bethany (aka Betty) at, again, Shanghai Tunnel. We know Bethany from back in the days of Trooppo - we all worked together. She moved out here a little over a year ago from Michigan, so we've been hanging out again.

After Shanghai Tunnel, some of our friends invited us to the Doug Fir to check out A Place to Bury Strangers. That's right, we have friends! The receptionist from Paul's office and her husband are way cool. They are super into wine and food (especially cheese) just like us, so I think we'll get along just fine. :)

Down in the Doug Fir:

A Place to Bury Strangers:

The band was really good - I had never heard them before. The place is so small and loud though, my ears are still ringing. I felt like I was underwater for most of this morning. Does that mean I'm getting old??

Paul went on a really cool Jeep outing yesterday while I was at work. He took some great pictures, so he should be putting those up soon!


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Coming to you live from... my couch!

Hello! Yes, it's been a week and a half since the last post. In all honesty, that's mostly because the last week and a half have been pretty uneventful. We now have furniture in our apartment (w00t!) and we also have cable and internet hooked up (double w00t!), so we decided to take a few lazy days for ourselves. :)

Work has been going pretty well. I had my first non-training "solo" shift last night which actually went pretty smoothly. I start my regular, full-time schedule tomorrow, which will be nice (so I can start getting a regular paycheck!). I'll be working days Friday-Monday, dinners on Tuesday, and then Wednesday and Thursday off. Besides working weekends, it's really not a bad schedule. Paul has Tuesdays and Thursdays off, so we still get some time together.

We actually got out and did something yesterday! A friend told us that Cathedral Park in St. Johns (which is in NoPo - North Portland, the 5th quadrant) was pretty cool, so we went and checked it out. It was way cool. It's all underneath the east end of the St. Johns bridge - one of many bridges in Portland, but the only steel suspension bridge. It is also thought to be one of the Lewis and Clark landing sites, so it's got some history. The arches all have a cathedral-like look to them, hence the park's name. It is pretty awesome in person, but hopefully the pictures are cool too.

Looking up from the base of one arch:

While we were there, we also got a preview of the misty Portland rain. We all know it rains a lot here in the fall and winter, but instead of heavy downpours, we generally get a constant misty kind of rain. It was misting/raining while we were out there, but it was actually quite pleasant. I'm sure I'll be saying otherwise when the temperature drops though!

We also hit Forest Park for a little while yesterday. This park is huge! 5,156.65 acres to be exact. It is laced with tons of trails for hiking, biking, horse-riding, etc. I don't remember the name of the trail we were on, but it was pretty cool.

Me and the Buckface:

The many shades of green:

The sun filtering through the canopy:

And a super psychedelic leaf on the ground that I just had to have for my desktop wallpaper:

Have I mentioned that I love this city?? There is so much cool stuff here, and we have barely scratched the surface. I think we will have several years of discovery to come.

We have decided that it's finally time to get some formal training for Buckley. He definitely loves our outings, however he's still getting used to apartment life. We love him to death, but he's been a great source of stress for us lately. He has a lovely habit of constantly grabbing things off shelves or counters that he isn't supposed to have - hats, socks, sunglasses, you name it - and forcing us to chase him around. Constantly. In fact just today he grabbed the last bite of my pb & j sandwich off the counter and devoured it. Not cool. And when we put him in his kennel, he barks. A lot. He also has some things to learn about walking on a leash and being polite with people. So, the doorman at our building recommended a trainer to us that has worked with other dogs in the building. He will work with us on our schedule in our home, which will be great. We have our first consultation with him on Tuesday, so I'll let you know how that goes!

You can still expect a post from Paul soon. He has been riding his bike to work (10 miles one way!) and I guess his route has some pretty sweet views of the city and beyond. He is going to take my camera one day soon and share some pics!


Monday, September 15, 2008

Still alive

Man, I'm a bad blogger aren't I? It's been a week... oops. Still do not have internet access at home, so of course as you know, that is my excuse. :)

SO! My first day at my new job was Wednesday, and my second day was Saturday. They went alright. It's tough going back into restaurant work when I've been removed from it for a few years, and especially tough to walk into a brand new job as a supervisor. It's overwhelming in fact. I'm sure that I will like it a lot more once I'm comfortable there. It's the little things really... I mean, I know how a restaurant is supposed to operate, how servers are supposed to serve their tables, how food is supposed to come out, etc. But learning where to stash my coffee cup during service, where all the coffee supplies are kept, what sidework the servers are supposed to do before each service, how the kitchen is organized, how the POS system works, who to ask to do what... it's these things that are the hardest! In my last experience, I was able to learn all of those little things by being a server first, and having lots of other servers around that can be totally honest with me and help me out with those little things. It's a little different coming in as a supervisor I guess. I just have to learn by watching as opposed to doing.

All that said, I do like it so far. It's a great restaurant, that's a given. All the people there have been great and very welcoming, which helps a lot. I have my first dinner shift tomorrow, so that should be interesting! I am looking forward to it. I think this is going to be way fun once I settle in.

For anyone who doesn't already know, Paul is also working now too. He is completing his externship (a requirement to finish law school) at a small law firm in Tigard (suburb). He seems to like it so far! They have been keeping him very busy, and it sounds like he is doing an excellent job. That guy never ceases to amaze me. He is ridiculously smart. That firm is lucky to have him... maybe it will turn into a full time position after the externship is over! We shall see...

In other news, we finally have furniture! Remember that camp chair and air mattress I mentioned, oh, a month ago? Well, we were living on that up until a few days ago! We hit IKEA pretty hard and got ourselves all set up - bed, dresser, counter stools, couch, coffee table, media stand, bookshelves - it's awesome! We even got a real mattress which was delivered yesterday. Last night was the first good night's sleep we've gotten in a while! I don't have any pics to post yet, but I will soon. I want to get everything just so before unveiling. You understand.

In general, life is good right now. The weather has been outstanding, I have a JOB, we have furniture... what else could we ask for? While we have gotten out and explored a few other neighborhoods, the Pearl (our 'hood) still amazes me. Sometimes I'll be walking down the street, past Jamison Square or something, and it hits me... wow. I live here. This is my neighborhood. I heart this city.

Tomorrow is our official one-month anniversary of living in PDX! So the question is... how long before I have to change the name of this blog from "moving to" to "living in?"

Paul has expressed some interest in adding a post or two to this blog, so maybe next time you'll hear from him! I'm sure you are sick of hearing my point of view by now. :) And I'm sorry I don't have any photos to share this time! Life has been a little crazy I guess. Photos of the apartment coming soon. Oh, and keep the comments coming! We loves it! :)


Monday, September 8, 2008


It's finally happened... someone hired me!

You are reading the blog of the new front of house supervisor for lunch and brunch at Veritable Quandary. :)

This restaurant is awesome. It has been a Portland mainstay of Pacific Northwest cuisine for over 30 years. We've been there for brunch a few times and it never ceases to amaze (the Brioche Stuffed French Toast with carmelized bananas and mascarpone cheese is oh-my-gah).

The weekend that Paul and I moved here, we took my parents and Paul's dad there for brunch on their lovely garden patio.

We also visited for brunch on our honeymoon.
This will actually be a pretty similar position to what I was doing at Troppo in Lansing. It's different day to day, but mainly I will be overseeing the flow of lunch and brunch, including seating guests, checking in with servers and the kitchen to make sure everything is on time and under control, generally running around and make sure all ducks are in a row. :) I'm sure there are more specific duties than that, but I won't learn those until I start on Wednesday!

So hoorah! I will NOT be homeless by Christmas as I was beginning to suspect!

I'll let you know how my first day goes. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little nervous about getting back into the restaurant biz. It's serious business around here. I am sure it will be great though, especially at such a well-known place. Wish me luck!


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Adventures with Mother-in-Law

Look at me, getting all caught up on my blog! This will bring us all the way up to yesterday, can you believe it?! :)

Paul's mom, Joyce, came out for Labor Day weekend to visit. Same as my parents, this was her first trip to Portland, so we got to do the whole "tour of Portland" again. I think Paul and I could write a really great book, geared toward locals, about how to give their visitors a well-balanced taste of Portland in just a few days. Yeah, I'll have to work on that.

We had a night out on the town for Joyce's first night. Once we did a little walking around, we hit happy hour! We somehow managed to do Rogue Public House, Clyde Common, and Saucebox (which has the most ridiculously awesome cocktail menu)... all before hitting the Doug Fir for a concert. That's some serious happy hour-ing.

Then we went to see !!! (chk chk chk) at the Doug Fir, located at the Jupiter Hotel. Paul and I had stayed at the Jupiter before, but had not been to the concert venue. It is a very, very cool place to see a show. Pretty small and intimate, cool log-cabin type decor, and great acoustics. Here are a couple pics from that show. Unfortunately, my camera sort of sucked in that type of lighting, so none of them are super clear.

Saturday was spent walking, shopping, eating and drinking. We hit up the Saturday Market, Farmer's Market, and everything in between. By Sunday, we were ready for drinks again. :) We headed out to the Willamette Valley for some wine tasting, since of course, that is Portland's wine country. We only had time to visit Archery Summit and White Rose, but those are my two favorite anyway. White Rose has one of the coolest tasting rooms I've seen, but this time we were actually in the room where they make the wine for the tasting, which was pretty cool.

View from Archery Summit:

Absolutely gorgeous! We also joined the Archery Summit wine club while we were there, which I am super psyched about. The only commitment is that we have to purchase eight bottles in a year - we would do that anyway! We get invited to release parties, get free tastings, and lots of other perks. I have a feeling this won't be our only wine club membership.

On Monday we packed some things up and headed out to the Columbia River Gorge (with Buckley too!). The scenery is absolutely breathtaking out there. We decided to take the Oneonta Gorge Trail, which is about a 3.6 mile hike (1.8 miles out and back) to Triple Falls.

Paul and I had taken this hike before, so I didn't snap any photos of the actual Triple Falls. But, there is this really pretty area behind the falls where we decided to stop and eat lunch. Between the trees, grass, and moss everywhere, there are more shades of green than I think my camera can even process. This truly needs to be seen in person to get the full effect... but here's a pic anyway.

And just for cuteness sake (I wish I had my macro on for this one!):

We had a great lunch packed up which included fresh breads from Ken's Artisan Bakery, some Humboldt Fog cheese and Delice de Bourgogne cheese, New Zealand Jazz apples, kalamata olives, and some salami selections from Salumi (an awesome charcuterie in Seattle, that sells their meat in only one deli in PDX - which happens to only be a few blocks from us). And we ate it all off of a fallen tree.

One final family shot before heading back down:

And now I must continue my search for a job! There are a couple of really interesting listings today, so let's keep our fingers crossed!


Adventures with Buckley

Clearly my plan of posting multiple posts yesterday did not work! I ran out of my two hours of free wireless access (limited access - how lame is that??). Today I am at the 3rd St. Stumptown (or as my Mom accidentally called it, Sump Pump Coffee) enjoying an iced coffee, and I will camp out at this table until they physically remove me.

I thought I'd give a little update on Buckley. I think it's safe to say he is loving the city-dog life. He has certainly gotten comfortable with his new home. Here he is sunning himself on our balcony:

Not a bad life eh? One of the great things about this city is the enormous number of off-leash dog parks in the area. Last week we took Buckley out to a few of them to see what it's all about. He loved it! He has great manners with other dogs, never starts any fights and loves to play. It's so much fun to watch him, but the even greater reward is how tired he is when we get home. :)

There is a small-ish off-leash area at Gabriel Park that we've gone to a couple times. This last time, there were easily 50 dogs there! It was great to see them all interact. Here he is playing around with some of his new buddies there.

Another great park is the Mt. Tabor park. Not only is the off-leash area huge here, but it's also full of trails and trees - not just the typical open field. I didn't get to snap any shots yet, but the view from Mt. Tabor is amazing. You can see the entire city off the West side, and off the other side you have a great view of Mt. Hood when it is clear. Here are a couple shots of Buckley enjoying himself at this park.

This truly is a great city for dogs. Almost everywhere you go is dog-friendly, and it's so easy to get out of the city a little bit and give them some wide open spaces to play in (there are even some dog parks tucked right into the city too). Buckley has particularly enjoyed all the attention he is getting. Everywhere we go, tons of people comment on how pretty he is, and he gets lots of pets from people. I think it's going to his head. :)


p.s. I love comments, so feel free to leave some! <3