Thursday, February 19, 2009

Just a hello...

I just realized that it's been almost two weeks without a new post! Time has been flying by...

We haven't been up to a whole lot of exciting stuff lately, as we are now under a week away from Paul taking the bar exam! As you can imagine, most spare time has been devoted to studying.

We did have a great winemaker's dinner on Feb. 14th... for Paul's birthday, NOT for Valentine's Day! :) It was a birthday surprise for Paul. We headed out to the Brookside Inn in Carlton to have a multi-course dinner paired with the wines of Archery Summit. It was so amazing. I will post the menu a little bit later or tomorrow.

Nothing else new, just wanted to assure everyone we are alive and well! Exciting stuff coming soon... hopefully... :)


Friday, February 6, 2009

Rubber to the Road

Well, yesterday was not quite as beautiful as Wednesday, but we didn't let that stop us!

We hit the road on our bikes for a 20-mile ride, including some serious uphill climbs. We rode down the Springwater Corridor and over the Sellwood Bridge (complete with a suicide counseling phone number perched on the bridge railing - nice) to the River View Cemetery. This cemetery is well over a hundred years old, and extremely beautiful and peaceful. I hope I didn't disrupt the peace with my huffing and puffing... this was not an easy ride. But well worth it.

After River View, we hopped on the trail over to Tryon Creek State Natural Area. There is a large series of trails through this area, but we decided to walk the short loop of the Trillium Trail. They are featuring an art exhibit on this trail right now, focused around the natural cycles one would find in this area.

This is "The Invader," representing invasive species.


I really don't remember what this one was called or really what it represents... but I think it's pretty cool nonetheless. I love the giant knitting needles.

And here's a little peek into fungi-town. These little 'hoods were built onto a good six or seven trees.

After Tryon Creek, we rode downhill the whole way home. :)

I was writing a really long catching-up type email to an old friend today, and trying to describe life in Portland. For brevity's sake, I boiled it down to a pretty broad top-five reasons I love it here. After I wrote it, I thought it might be something worth posting here.

I'm not even really sure how to describe life in Portland. "It's awesome" doesn't do it justice. Portland is kind of a place that needs to be absorbed, rather than just explained or described. Does that make sense? Every single day, there's another reason why I feel lucky to be here. Here are a few that come to the top of my head:

1. The people. This has got to be the friendliest city on the planet. On any given day, you may find yourself in a lengthy conversation with the grocery store cashier, or the couple sitting next to you at the bar, or another dog owner at the dog park, or somebody who accidentally dialed the wrong number and you picked up. Maybe it's the quality of life here that makes everyone happy, I dunno. But it's fun.

2. The food. I mean, duh. Paul and I have always been big foodies, and this is like the foodie mecca. There is SO MUCH to choose from. You would love it. Most everyone here really focuses on fresh, local, usually organic ingredients. There are big slow-food and farm-to-table movements here. Not to mention the abundance of beer and wine here to accompany the food. There are more breweries in Portland per capita than anywhere else in the world. And of course, we are only a 30-minute drive from the Willamette Valley, wine country of the NW.

3. The city itself. It's kind of like a miniature big city. Everything is in close proximity, and super easy to get to by foot, bike, bus, light rail, etc. I have my car here, but we have really only used it a handful of times in the last 6 months. We just don't need it. Actually, my lease on my car is up next month, and I'm going car-less after that. I can't wait... it's going to be liberating. And, there is this fantastic urban growth boundary in Portland. So no matter what, if you just drive 20 or 30 minutes out from the heart of the city, you are out of the city, and into a different world. You're just in... nature. There's the Columbia Gorge, Mt. Hood, Willamette Valley, the Pacific Ocean... just to name a few. And it's all so close.

4. The bicycle culture. It's huge here. Portland is regarded by many as the most bike-friendly city in the country. We've really gotten into the whole culture of it, since we've both gotten bikes. I ride my bike to work every day and I love it. Plus, there are tons and tons of trails and routes for just-for-fun bike rides with gorgeous views and interesting scenery.

5. The weather. We had an outdoor BBQ just two days ago. How awesome is that?? We had two really rough weeks of snow and ice in December, which was actually the worst winter here in the last 150 years, but it's been great other than that. Sure it's overcast most days, but I couldn't care less. Since November, the temps have been pretty much in the 40s or higher, with a little rain here and there. This week we enjoyed temps almost in the 60s. People here whine about the gray skies and rain the winter, but I think they have no idea how much worse it could be.

Have I mentioned I love it here?


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

I love winter

I never thought I'd say that. Winter here effing rocks. Today we enjoyed a sunny 60 degree day... this is like late Spring back in MI! We didn't stray too far from home today though. We took Buckley out to the dog park in our neighborhood, called The Fields. Right now it's just a big field, but by the end of 2009 it's supposed to be a really nice park with an off-leash area, baseball diamonds, playground, etc.

This dog would fetch a tennis ball over and over until he collapsed, I'm sure.

Buckley made a new friend named Sparky, a pitbull-miniature poodle mix (strange mix, I know). Sparky was even faster than Buckley! Here's a little video of them playing fetch:

And a few more photos:

Since it was so nice out, we decided to take advantage of the grills and terrace in our building. I still can't believe we were having a cookout in the first week of February. Burgers, beer and chips... mmmmm.

After a few of these 9.5% ABV beers, we found ourselves in our apartment YouTubing 90s videos of Kris Kross, Bell Biv Devoe, Snoop and Dre, Boyz II Men, Color Me Badd... I even busted out some old dance moves! Roger Rabbits and MC Hammers and Funky Chickens and more. I'm sure the neighbors were loving it.

It was a fantastic day. We're looking forward to topping it off with a new episode of LOST, only 45 minutes away! Can't wait to see what's up with Widmore being an other...

The blog has been a little boring lately, for which I apologize. Up until yesterday, the weather has been tolerable but not fantastic, so we haven't been doing much. Not to mention the upcoming bar exam for Paul! In addition to working three days a week, he has been taking his barbri review course six days a week, 3-4 hours per day. Does not leave a ton of time for fun stuff. The exam is at the end of this month, so there is finally a light at the end of the tunnel! We are planning on some bike rides and hikes in the near future though, so I'll have some new material soon.

So, who's coming to visit in the spring??