Saturday, September 27, 2014

Fall in the PNW

Well, I think we're finally into fall here in Oregon, and I'm finally experiencing what the Pacific Northwest is known for: rain and grey skies. It rained a ton at the beginning of the week, and today is dark and drizzling.  Of course, in Oregonian style, no one seems to notice the light precipitation except me, the New England girl. I did manage to resist wearing a waterproof jacket, just to try and act like I'm normal.

If I've been listening to our meteorologist properly this week (and there's a good chance I haven't been, I'm usually just focusing on how much time she's used/how much time there is to go) then I think we've got a few more warm and sunny days ahead -- but for the most part, fall is here.  I've even officially broken out the tights.  Of course, I do work at night, the coldest part of the day no matter what the season, but still.  It's tights, boots, and sweaters season.  And I'm not complaining.  Now I feel more validated about cuddling on the couch watching Netflix and drinking warm beverages.

The other good thing about fall? All my tv shows are back!  No How I Met Your Mother is sad, but The Big Bang Theory is back, as is Scandal, Parenthood, and a few new ones to test out, like Selfie (because Karen Gillan of Doctor Who) and How to Get Away with Murder.  Sure, I feel cool that Scandal is broadcast on the same channel as my newscasts, even though I am of course affiliated with the show in no way whatsoever.

Anyway: what have I been up to this week? It's been a little stressful -- work has been a little crazy, and I wish I could say more about it, but it's never good to complain about work in a public, written place.  Some other fun things did happen at the end of the week, so I'm feeling better now.  I went to brunch with a few coworkers on Thursday and Friday, both at amazingly delicious places. Yesterday's place was my favorite: it's called Off the Waffle, and they have these delicious combinations of food on top of delicious waffles. After brunch yesterday, a bunch of us watched Frozen together, then headed over to another coworker's house to hang out with her and her baby (who is absolutely adorable).

So far today, I've made myself a tasty breakfast, dealt with Neville's craziness, and sold some clothes at Buffalo exchange.  Right now, I'm of course blogging/hanging out at my tea shop (English Breakfast with milk and honey), and then I'm off to DSW to spend my cash from selling my clothes.  Not a busy day, but after the past few days, and a stressful week, it's nice to just relax.  Hopefully by the time I get home, Neville will have calmed down a little bit.  If only I could get him to get out some of his energy by cleaning the house... too bad cats don't have thumbs...

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Rain

I survived my first real Oregon rain!

It poured all day yesterday, starting late the night before -- we could hear it pounding on the roof of the newsroom all night long.  It was nice to have an excuse to cozy up and have some tea after work, but I'm not the biggest fan of rain ... hopefully I'll just get used to it.  The best part of the rain? It brought some much needed cool temperatures with it.  I have been sweltering this summer, and it's a welcome change to need more than the corner of a sheet to keep me comfortable.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Off to the Coast

Brian's visit, part II.

Since it's so easy to get to from Eugene/Springfield, I took Brian to the Florence coast.  It was his first time at a Pacific beach -- but he wore laced up shoes so he didn't put his feet in. What a shame.



It was kind of foggy and a little chilly, but we had a nice picnic on the beach, sitting on a giant driftwood tree (possible mast of a ship lost at sea long ago? okay, no, probably not).  I wish the coast was closer than an hour and a half, it's so pretty and relaxing.  So many little nooks and crannies in the dunes, it would be so easy to hang out there undisturbed with a book.

  We checked out the downtown too. Too chilly for ice cream -- good weather for a hot beverage.  The coffee shop had a nice little deck area, and the cup holder mirrored the view.

That took most of the day Sunday.  It was soooo nice not having to go to sleep at 2 pm too.  A taste of normal life.

I had off the next day too, so we hiked Spencer's Butte.  I was lazy and so we opted for a shorter path... but then I accidentally took us up the steepest path possible.  At one point we basically had to scramble up an 80 degree incline that was all loose dirt.  I'm probably exaggerating.  But definitely tough since I have not done a strenuous hill workout since like March ... and I don't think I intend to ever again.

It was still fun though, and made getting to the top even better.  It was interesting to see all the smoke trapped in the valley from the nearby wildfires that were burning at the time. Definitely not something you see in New England.  I thought it was just fog, at first.

So those are all my pictures and the most interesting bits of Brian's trip.  The rest of the week was spent lazing around and trying out various tea shops.  Definitely the best week of my time here so far.  

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Portland Japanese Garden

Sorry for the silence -- the next thing on my agenda to write about was my boyfriend Brian's visit, and I was putting off editing the pictures this week because I was still sad about him leaving.  But I finally got around to it today, with help from my favorite tea shop and a yummy tea.  And what better to drink than green tea while editing pictures from a Japanese style garden?

Brian arrived two weeks ago, late on a Friday night, so we found a cheap hotel because there was no way I was making a two hour drive home at midnight.  It ended up being a perfect plan, because it meant we got to spend some time in Portland.

We started the day with a delicious breakfast at City State Diner.  It wasn't in the downtown area, but I can't really say what part of Portland it was in, since we just randomly found it with a little help from Siri.  A good find too, because it was amazingly delicious, and a super cute little place.

Then we headed off to our plan for the day: the Japanese Garden in Washington Park.




 It was beautiful, and would have been extremely relaxing if there hadn't been a lot of other people.  Paths wound through a little forested area, wooden bridges and large stepping stones helped you get across small streams that joined ponds together.  There were statues and small fountains among the trees, and some raked sand gardens.






 The two best parts were the large waterfall, and the view of Portland from one side of the garden.  It was hard to capture it well in a picture.  From there, you can really see just how small it is -- especially compared to the mountains in the distance.





I've mostly only been exposed to English/other eastern garden styles, so this was a fun experience.  According to the internet, it's the best Japanese garden in American (and possibly anywhere outside of Japan? Too lazy to look that up again).  The only downside was the amount of people also wandering around.  Now I want a fountain in my future garden/backyard.

Since this is very picture-heavy, I'll talk about the rest of Brian's trip in another post! So stay tuned for that, probably tomorrow or the next day.

Tea of the day: silver tip jasmine green tea.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Portland

After three months in Oregon, I finally made it to Portland! Nearly a week ago, my mom and I made the two hour drive north.  It felt short -- but I did fall asleep for a while (the downfalls of working overnight) and we also hit up some great Labor Day sales at the Woodburn Outlets.  Definitely I place I want to go again, less than an hour away and some great stores.

Anyway, we got to Portland in the afternoon.  We stayed in this great hotel right in the center of downtown.  It was so close to everything!  Although, most things in the downtown area are -- it's very small, kind of like Boston.  To me, it was this mix of Boston and Philly, although on a smaller scale.  I never realized how much of Portland was suburban-looking areas -- if I'd just been driving through, I would've thought those areas were their own separate town/city.


We went to Powell's Books that first day.  It claims to be the largest independent new/used bookstore -- and I definitely wouldn't argue.  You practically needed a map!  It was cool, but overwhelming, and absolutely filled with people.  I prefer the quiet independent stores.  We explored quite a bit, considering I was running on barely any sleep. By the time we got dinner (it was only like 5:30) I was practically asleep on my feet.


This huge burger and amazing fries woke me up -- but only for a short time.  Lights were out by 7 p.m.  As you can tell, I'm really cool.



The next day was more exploring!  The Portland Saturday Market is amazing.  I love the one in Eugene (apparently Saturday Markets are some Oregon thing? We have craft fairs in NH but not to this date, and not always Saturdays), but this one was especially cool.  Some people had really elaborate wooden booths with their wares almost built in -- one was like a mini house!  It must be so much work to set them up each day, but so cool to see.

I've been looking for another silver ring for  my right hand (I've worn one on the left since I was 12) and I finally found one at the Saturday Market.  Great price, great design: a simple band with a small green stone.

The market is right next to the Willamette, so we wandered along the river for a little, then did more exploring.











Since my mom is a librarian, she basically makes it her mission to check out every library we can.  The one in Portland was big, and it had all kind of cool decorations.  I was partial to this Alice in Wonderland stone carving.



And, since she's a children's librarian -- we of course had to find the Beverly Clearly statue garden.  I didn't know it until recently, but she's from the Portland area.  For anyone reading this who doesn't know, she's the author of the books about Ramona Quimby.  They were a favorite growing up, so I have fun checking out the garden too.



It features Henry Huggins and his dog (I think that was her first book?) and Ramona over there on the left.



And then our final Portland destination -- Ramona's street from the books.  I wasn't sure if the residents thought we were huge creepers, or are used to Ramona pilgrimages.

 

I'm headed back this week to pick Brian up from the airport! We aren't going to do too much there, but we will go to Washington Park, which is supposed to have amazing Japanese gardens, so I'm excited.  I definitely can see where Portland gets all the hype, although I definitely thought the downtown would be bigger.  Hipsters? Yes.  But here in Eugene we have so many hipsters/hippies that there didn't seem an overabundance.  It was actually nice to see a decent amount of people dressed more like I'm used to over in Boston -- some of which could be classified as hipster, I guess.

A quick heads up: expect another longish break while Brian is here.  I won't post for at least another week or so.  Unless, of course, I get super bored waiting for his plane to arrive tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

I Had a Visitor!

A fairly long absence -- but with a good reason! My mom was in town visiting last week, and I wanted to spend as much time with her as I could.

Now to talk about what we did.  Even though I haven't been here long, it was fun to show off places that have become my favorite spots.  My tea shop (of course), the farmer's/craft market, my favorite antique shops, and of course my apartment and Neville.  She and Neville became best friends very quickly, and he definitely missed having her to play with these past couple days.

The first full day she was here is really the only one I remember what we did well.

It was fairly similar to my usual Saturday -- head downtown.  We got some bread and veggies at the farmer's market, and I got some cacti.  I killed most of my other plants ... so here's to hoping I don't murder these!


We also got pizza at this delicious pizza place downtown, Sizzle Pie.  Then we got Voodoo Doughnuts, because you can't come to Oregon and not go to Voodoo.  And we also just like to eat.  It was cool to bring her downtown, she noticed and cared about some things more than I've really paid a ton of attention to, so it was like I got a whole new perspective. A tourist, rather than someone trying to find their way as a resident.




Aside from that day ... well, there was a lot of eating and a lot of playing with Neville.  Where did you think I got my cat lady-ness from?



It was nice to be able to just hang out with someone, after these three months of living alone.

Oh! Quick tangent -- yesterday was my official three months at KEZI! I've made it a full quarter of a year!

Anyway -- back to my mom's visit: Nothing was better than the home cooked meals. I cook for myself every day, but it never tastes as good, and I'm always too lazy to make things that involve a lot of time and energy.  But my mom was nice enough to do that, and I got some of my favorite meals.

My mom was also nice enough to get up early to come watch my show, live.  I don't have a tv, so there was really no other way for her to see it.  She got to the studio at about 5:45 a.m. and then sat in the studio with the anchors to watch them work while the show was on-air.  It was her first time seeing how the news actually works, and it's nice that now she really knows what I do!  And of course, I let her see the anchor's view.


I'll have another post tomorrow -- all about our overnight in Portland!

If you were wondering: yes, even though it's Wednesday, I am still at my tea shop.  I knew a certain cat would be too distracting to let me edit photos and write a longish post at home! He has a tendency to nip at my toes when I'm sitting.

Tea of the day: pear green tea.