Sunday, May 23, 2010

Meanwhile, back in real life

Yep, still planning the trip to New Zealand - it's shaping up a little, but I think a lot of our decisions will be made on the fly. We'll have a cell phone, a map, and a car from Sunday to Wednesday so we may just wing it. Should be great.

In the meantime, remember Cookbook Exploitation Month? yeah, totally fell by the wayside. My focus seems to have shifted a bit from the kitchen to knitting - I'm working on a sweater, and am watching copious amounts of Veronica Mars.

Yesterday I ran some errands, then went to a short class on preserving cherries, presented by the farmer/pastry-chef couple who own Frog Hollow Farm. What a blissful union of foodies! I'm excited to do some u-picking and preserving when I get back from my trip. I got a jar to take home with me, and I just love the vibrant cherries. I'm actually glad it wasn't processed in a water bath, so I "have" to use the contents within about a month.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

exciting plans

It still feels very much like a dream, but I'm going to New Zealand next week! I have pangs about the shortness of the visit, but I really couldn't have gone for longer, so I keep reminding myself that I'd rather go now for a little bit, than for a good chunk of time sometime in the next ten years (if ever)!

It's going to be not-that-warm, with temps in the 50s. It's going to be rather rainy, though the forecast shows we may get a few clear days as well! The days will feel strangely short, with sunrise at 7:25 and sunset at 5:12 on our final day there.

And still for all that I'm super excited. I've borrowed a map, and a couple of books, and have more books on the way, and we've booked a car and our first couple of nights and I'm making lists of things I want to do and see. I think we may do a bit of picking our destinations based on the forecast, which feels crazy, yet so doable as it's the off season.

I'm also worried I won't understand a word anyone says to me, but I imagine I'll get by. If nothing else I'll make my travel buddy do all the talking!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

roller coaster!

Oh folks, hasn't it been some high highs and low lows lately? I had a very big disappointment yesterday, and am working through being sad and mad and kicking rocks, but I also got to have kind words and shoulders and encouragement and perspective and laughing, so all is definitely not lost.

And then today I kind of went a little crazy and am taking a quick trip to New Zealand  - New Zealand - New Zealand?!?!?! - with a friend. Cheap ticket + feeling blue and restless + willing friend + tight deadline = wow.

We leave in a couple of weeks and will be there for six days and I will take lots of pictures, even if it's of end-of-autumn on the extreme other part of the globe.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A weekend hike

A friend and I went for a hike on Saturday in Mount Diablo State Park. At 8 o'clock on a Saturday morning, it was a breeze to get there. And what a day for the hike! We went almost ten miles under blue skies, on sun-dappled trails, and got to pick our way across a river that cut across the trail.. okay, 14 times. And, yeah, turns out I hadn't accurately called our turning point, so we had to retrace our steps back over the 14 river crossings. So we crossed the same river 28 times! Fortunately there were no blisters or other issues or it might've been a bit bleak.

I saw lots of flowers, including a type that was new to me:

Alas, the Secret Trail to Barbeque Terrace, while lovely, did not in fact lead to any sources of grilled meat. Fortunately, I was already going to a bbq later that afternoon!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Irreplaceable You

My first job in Portland was pretty crappy - I was the office manager of a carpet store! But I'd moved cross-country without a job (or that much money in the bank) so I had no reason to be choosy. And it filled the bill, in terms of paying me money, and I stayed there for a whole year. My wakeup call was one of the sales guys, this guy, actually walking up to me one day and saying "Beth, WHAT are you doing here?" Within a couple of weeks I'd found a new job at a software company - a job that still is good fodder for my current career path.

Anyway, my boss at the store was a super nice guy who was crazy generous with his car. He had a Mercedes sedan and would give me the keys to keep it for the weekend whenever he was going to be out of town (which was often, as his real home was in Seattle). I vowed to always be open-handed with my possessions, following his example.

With one exception, and that is my bike. I had a friend doing a triathlon, and she kind of hinted that it might be nice to borrow my bike, and I said no. I had another friend who was going out of town, and thought it might be fun to have a bike to ride, and I said no. It's the one, only thing that is not replaceable. Absolutely everything in life is just Stuff - and okay, the bike DOES count, when push comes to shove. I wouldn't go back into a burning building for it, that's for damn sure.

I finished grad school in 2004, and resolved to do ... something. Something that cost money. (yep, could've paid that money toward the loans, I know) I thought about going to Europe for a couple of weeks, but my friend Jimmy (my genius artistic creative talented friend Jimmy, of whom I'm quite proud) suggested I get a cutom-made bike.

This seemed preposterous to me. First of all, I had a bike. Secondly, I'm not a BIKER-biker. I'd have to lose 50-plus pounds to even pretend to that status. Thirdly, that seemed so very serious. He convinced me though by pointing out how badly my current bike fit me (super long extension on the seat pole, yet the handlebars were as close to me as I could get them), and by telling me he'd help me get deals on the components, and would assemble the bike for me, thereby saving a lot on labor (he was a bike mechanic at that time).

So, I did it. I ordered a custom-made bike from Co-Motion Cycles, in Eugene, Oregon. Jimmy's friend Bob worked there, and he knew I was getting this as a gift to myself for finishing my master's degree in Library Science. So he put a little book on the frame...

...thereby transforming something special into something irreplaceable. And I love it.

Monday, May 3, 2010

among my peers

I've been called for jury duty. It's too soon to know if I'll serve ON a jury, but I'm in a group of people who've been assigned to a case, and I won't be free until a) the jury is selected or b) the trial is done. It's been somewhat interesting seeing who my alleged peers are - mainly white, yes, but definitely a range of ages and ethnicities. Most of the people questioned so far have at least a college degree, and there've been a few with master's degrees or doctorates.

it's not the most interesting way to spend a day or two, and I'm pretty pooped from doing a whole lot of waiting around. We'll see what happens tomorrow!