Monday, August 31, 2009

Lilly and The Trash: A Love Story

This is Lilly.

This is what Lilly does when no one is looking.

***Photo removed pending editing of my Real Life Address from the contents of the pic***

Here is the story of how much she loves her trashcan, and how she has bested us at every turn, and why you should just have cats.

Lilly got in the trashcan.
We put the trashcan on the counter.
Lilly pulled it down.
We put the trashcan outside.
It stunk.
We moved the trash back in, and put bricks in the bottom. We thought this would make it less likely to tip over, and too heavy at least to drag to the living room.
She dragged it to the bedroom.
We put a metal hook with a spring loaded lock on the can.
She pulled the back of the lid off.
Now she gets locked in the bedroom with her sister. This seems to make them both happy (Maya's separation anxiety is gone now that her sister keeps her company), and there haven't been any coffee grounds on the floor since. I find this to be validation of Occam's Razor. I hate that I didn't think of it sooner.
Lilly waits. One day, we will slip up. We will forget, and she will be there. Vengeance will be hers.

Till then, I win.

Monday, August 24, 2009

washington- the state this time

Hello! Hope you all had a nice weekend! I am sure you are ready to be done with vacation pictures, but too bad! we still have a few more days, then it will be all over, I promise.

The difference between Oregon and Washington was pretty crazy and abrupt. Crossing over the Columbia River, you knew that you were not in Kansas (well, Oregon) anymore. It all of a sudden becomes more rugged and bare- but beautiful nonetheless.

Some sort of war monument:

Wind turbine thingies. I love the pic, and feel extra special about it being taken from a moving car with dirty windows. Now about this car: it was a Kia little 4 door goofy thing. Terrible, actually. Other than it's brand newness, it was just a mess. well, with it being such a small car, and us being up so very high- we were blown all over the road. It is a credit to BF and both his driving and coping skills that we didn't go flying off the mountain and he didn't have a meltdown. Because that is what I would have had.

So then there's the matter of the sunsets. Holy wow, you have some sunsets out west, don't you? This was just the start.
then this
which gave way to this. Just beautiful. It certainly helped distract me from the panic attack I was having. It turns out that i don't think i have ever been somewhere totally flat, but surrounded by mountains, and completely devoid of other people. It also turns out that I found it rather frightening. But I am so glad that I didn't freak out enough to stop taking pics.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

I Love You, Oregon


Have you ever felt like you would love to live somewhere, although you had never been? And then, have you ever gone to that place, and then known that this is the place you should live for sure? Heaven, thy name is Oregon.

But first, here's Mt. Shasta.

Now that that's out of the way, let's go to our next destination- Florence, Oregon. Our original intent was to take the 1 all the way up the coast. However, Helen, our GPS, thought it wise to go another route. I am so glad we did. The route we took was varied, scenic, interesting, and also much shorter. Works for me. Now, I had still picked Florence out when I had the map of Oregon spread out on the living room floor months ago. I made a hotel reservation, and felt like it was a nice halfway point. Oh, little did I know- it was the most beautiful place I think I have ever seen. And ya know- I have been places.

On the way to Florence:
Florence. Doesn't it seem like the setting for a movie made from a Danielle Steel novel or something equally cheeseball? It's just magical. I know you can't tell from the pic, but those sand dunes are HUGE.
I want to live in this little lighthouse and go crazy there, and then yell at the sea lions to get off my rocks.
Then we hit the sea caves. Apparently, the largest underground sea cave in the world is here. After taking an elevator ride down about 200 feet, we saw all these guys just hanging out.
They make all sort of hilarious burpy and farty noises. Sea lions are so silly. I could watch them do nothing but be boorish for hours. Look at this guy. He picked his nose with his flipper right after this pic.
We didn't get to stay in Florence nearly long enough. A delicious dinner down by the water, a walk down the boardwalk, and then we were on our way again. On the road, BF decided that he had to pee. Badly. We saw a spot for a bathroom break and pulled over. Then we looked up and saw this.

Multnomah Falls. Clearly it was time to do some exploring. Oh and just so you know, these pics have only very slightly been corrected- Oregon is just that lush and green and beautiful.

These are just a few of the over 50 pics that I took there. I mean really- a waterfall like that- just on the side of the interstate. Where else does this happen?
Finally, a quick pic from the Oregon/Washington border- The Columbia River. I gotta tell ya- what with a lot of these pics being taken from a moving car and through dirty windows, I don't think they turned out half bad.

Back tomorrow with Washington pics! Soon to resume our regular bloggy programming. Well that is silence punctuated by whining, so maybe not. But bloggy programming nonetheless.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Little Town With The Heart of Gold

That's what it says on their koozies anyway. I happen to agree! This little TINY town (population 200 tiny) sits on the Yuba River, and all the people are just as kind and easygoing as it gets. It should also be mentioned that this was my first meeting with BF's mother, and she couldn't be better. She is a sweet, laid back, friendly woman who made me feel very welcome. I am glad she is who she is, because if she were different- she could make life very tough for me.

The road in:

One of the many beautiful views. I am sure the view from that little red house is even better.
THIS is his mother's backyard. It was awfully warm in Washington during the day, but that water is actually from melting snowcaps, so it was just the thing to have at your disposal.
Hummingbirds are all over out there, and this was one of the shots from the trip that made me feel like my photography is coming along. Baby steps, baby steps, and a bit of luck.
the little schoolhouse. It's just darling, and the fun thing about it is that while there was one room for 1st-4th grades (8 desks), there were brand new Macs all about the little school. Technology- it REALLY is everywhere.

This is the gold that we found while panning in the river! How cool is that?

Poor Man's Creek. Apparently $4 million worth of gold came out of this creek at one time.
And finally the little hotel/ which also houses the town's only restaurant and only bar.
This truly is a magical place. I would love to live somewhere like it one day. The pace of life, the time you have to appreciate the very simple things- it appeals to me. Not quite yet, but one day. One day.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

San Francisco

I loved Chinatown, and would stay there again in a second.

Getting lost is great sometimes
Love the vegetation out there. Totally different from what I normally see.
I thought this was positively magical. The books light up at night. See the words on the sidewalk?
The view from Coit tower. Thanks Coit Tower. Because of the climb to get to you, I am now treadmilling it up every day. Out of shape, that's me.
Here I am, pre-Alcatraz Tour. That's the hat that I made on the way out there. Good thing I had it too, because that ferry ride was brutal. That wind just cuts right through you. I bought The Perfect Button at Britex Fabrics earlier that day. Man, that store rules.
Alcatraz. This was my favorite thing in SF. I LOVED the self guided audio tour. Well done, not too cheesy, and fit right in with the night tour that we took. It was dark and gloomy in the prison, and a few times I got REALLY spooked. Me and my imagination, at it again.
The view from the boat, leaving the Wharf. I love that SF fog. It's like someone just takes a big gray blanket and throws it over the city. My kind of weather.
Love this- taken while preparing to dock at Alcatraz. I am thinking of having this printed for sure. I didn't know about the American Indian occupation in th 1970's. Learn something new everyday, why don'tcha.
Gaurd tower with flowers. One thing that struck me about Alcatraz is all the foreboding gloom of rundown towers and such, and the beautiful flowers that grow there. I loved the juxtaposition of it.
Bars on the bars on the windows in one of the cell blocks. Pretty serious stuff there. I could seriously do a whole blog entry on Alcatraz alone. LOVED IT.
Off we go to the Haight-Ashbury district. I love how this turned out.
Golden Gate Park Botanical Gardens. Stop it with the amazing flowers already.
And the trees. We have nothing like this where I am from. And I am surely the worse for it.
Japanese Tea Garden. I want to live here. It looks fake, doesn't it?
Lombard Street. I only include this photo because to me it reminds me of one of the most interesting things about San Francisco. I tried to imagine living on or around Lombard St. There you are, going out to get your paper, and there are people with camcorders leaning out of their cars, whooping it up while riding down your street. The attractions in SF are largely like this- you have people living by the steps up to Coit Tower, someone lives in the house at 710 Ashbury (the house of Grateful Dead fame) . Life just sort of unceremoniously goes on around all this stuff that's so remarkable. That truly boggles me.

I really, truly loved visiting this city- even if at every turn it reminded me that I am neither hip nor fit enough to live there.

Monday, August 17, 2009

I'm Home.

I'm home, and feeling really really really really great.

Really great.

Our trip was amazing. It was just really perfect, and I am so glad we went. My Partner In Crime, Obsessive Over-Planning, and I have won big this time. Victory was ours. But before I tell you alllllll about the trip, I wanted to talk more about some other stuff.

First, this trip was great in that I have returned home feeling very confident in the abilities that is the team of BF and I. We did lots of things and arrived on time, we didn't run out of money or get terribly lost in big cities (well, bigger than we are used to) and navigated 1500 miles of road in a rental car, and did it all without breaking up or (me) crying or any sort of theatrics. This was a big test for us, and I am very pleased to report that we passed. It's nice to know that you can share the familiarities of every day life with someone, while also being able to see and do new things without falling apart. I take serious comfort in this.

Second, going away really showed me what a great life I have right here. I needed that. I was getting into a seriously uninspired summer funk that I think was perfectly mirrored by this dreadful shell of a blog the last month or two. Yes, I have been having summer fun, but I have also not been writing, creating, photographing...really doing anything of interest. I think familiarity just began to breed all sorts of contempt. But towards the end of the trip, i was really longing for salt marshes, floppy dog ears, kitty moustaches- even my job. That also made me resolve to try to stay in the headspace that you are in the first few days home- delighting in the familiar, the things you took for granted.

Third, I want more. I want more travel, more new things to see and do, a better camera with which to capture it all. And, we want a Westfalia van. Badly. After seeing them in camping action and talking with some very enthusiastic owners, this is a sweet little dream that could be reality one day. It was nice to pass the time in the car talking about saving for one, and the things we could see and what we could do if we had one. I love feeling inspired and motivated.

And finally- fourthly, I learned a good lesson about myself. I learned that I need to be more fully present in the Here and Now. I have a tendency to live in Remember Whens and In the Futures. That doesn't leave a lot of room for enjoying what is right in front of me at that very moment. Seeing such a stunning part of the country forced me to do just that. I must enjoy what is here now.

Painstaking retelling of the trip to begin tomorrow!