Saturday, August 30, 2008

Labor Day Weekend

Well, by the time this is published we will be on the road. I am surprising Lisa with a trip to Hood River, OR. I got us a room at a B&B in Mosier, OR, which is about 5 minutes away. I plan on us leaving here about 11AM on Saturday and getting our stuff in our room by noon. After that we are going on the Hood River Fruit Loop and will hopefully bring some fruit back in the form of apples and pears. Supposedly there are many varieties of apples that they'll have for picking so that will be fun and interesting. There are also Alpaca farms that I'd like to see. Tomorrow night we'll be dining at a place called Celilo's Restaurant, which got great reviews on Tripadvisor. We're going to get up Sunday morning and go to some of the vineyards in the area. There are many (50+) within a very short distance so that will definitely be fun. Sunday night I've made reservations at Brian's Pourhouse. I figure we'll just meander back on Monday at our own pace and maybe check out some of the waterfalls in the area.

On a side note, our dog Finn busted his leg open pretty good today so we may get a late start tomorrow. I went to the vet for advice and they said to just watch it and if we wanted to bring him in early tomorrow that would be fine. I'm hoping that over the course of the night the wound will heal.

Last night we went to the Last Thursday celebration in the Alberta district. We had a blast and I believe you can see the photos here.

I hope everyone reading this has a great labor day weekend!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Today was the big day!!!

Well today was the big day for our big girl! She woke up bright and early and got dressed and immediately began working on her coursework, before the school year even starts! Then she finds out she was studying the wrong thing...... but she quickly gets back on track and has her work done for class. She stops by our home office room, where I usually frequent, and we wax philisophical about her coursework for a few minutes. I know she is going to rock the socks off that professor, whoever he/she may be. I decided to drop her off at the school since I had time and she asked nicely. She made me park in the back of the parking lot so none of her friends could see me. I tried to bring a camera to the school, but was quickly shut down before even leaving the house. We settled on a compromise of a "leaving the house" shot. I guess that will have to do.

Lisa's First Day of Class

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Coyote & India Festival

We went walking in a cemetary which is right beside our house. This has to be the largest cemetary I have ever seen and quite beautiful too. Yesterday was the second time going in. The first time I was walking alone and looked up to see this small coyote running away from me. After we got about 40 yards between us he turned around and we had a staring contest for about 5 minutes. This was my first time seeing a coyote up close so I just wanted to see where it would go. He eventually got scared and retreated into the woods. Fast forward to yesterday, I brought my camera with me hoping to get a shot of the guy, but didn't think to bring my zoom lens. Well, he was there, just sitting in the grass when I spotted him. Lisa and the dogs stayed back and I tried to get closer by using a large tree as cover. Coyote was too smart for me and got up and went into the woods again. When we passed by on our way out he was gone.

Later, we decided at the last minute to go to the India Festival and I'm glad we did. It has been crazy hot here this weekend and since the NW doesn't believe in air conditioning we've had to rely on 1 oscillating fan to keep us cool. It was pretty tough, but yesterday it cooled down and we went downtown to check things out. It is so neat living 5 minutes from downtown Portland, yet we get to come home to a more quiet setting. Anyways, there was some good eats and neat dancing. At the very end it was fun to watch some younger kids in traditional clothing dance. The music had a building energy to it and what I believe to be older relatives or just supervisors jumped in and threw money around. I don't know if that is a custom of theirs, but it was fun. Then, some kids from the audience jumped in and danced with the guys and it was just a fun experience. Lisa and I got some local grub (goat, rice, and some white sauce) and watch the whole thing. After the young kids went they had a community dance and it was so much fun to see all these people enjoying their culture. We really were a minority there and it was such a great feeling to be a part of something that you're not accustomed to and have a warm welcome. Everyone there was so nice.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Little Lisa getting ready for big boy school

As promised, here are the couple of shots I took from the law school.

We have been quite active lately, we went up to the Pittock Mansion which is close to downtown, but on a hill, which gives a great view of the city. They had their first ever free open house (it usually costs $7 to get in) so we grabbed some snacks and went up to the house to eat them on the front lawn. It was a beautiful mansion, but not overly obnoxious. The bedrooms were relatively small for mansion-size. They had a library, smoking room, reading room, a room for just about every activity.

Yesterday I went out with my friend Jeremy and his girlfriend to a sandbar that has snow runoff from a mountain. We swam across to the other side where there was a tree we could climb up and jump off from. I came down on the bottom of my feet pretty hard, but it didn't hurt for long. I brought Frampton and he had a blast swimming in the water and running after the frisbee. We hiked about 45 minutes back to our car and when I got home we made Mahi Mahi. It was soooo good I had to take a photo.

Today we are going to Tryon Park so hear the Symphony play. We are taking the dogs so we'll see how that works out...

Friday, August 15, 2008

Going back to school. . .

Gene, our neighbor Chris, and I walked to the undergraduate portion of the Lewis & Clark campus today to get our student ID photos taken. Campus is really beautiful.

While my photo was being taken, Gene was front and center snapping photos of me getting my photo taken. It was really embarrassing, especially since there was a line of 18 year old freshmen kids there, with their folks, waiting to get their photos taken and watching me. I'm a 31 year old attorney. But Gene seemed to get a big kick out of it, and I'm sure he will post the photos here soon. I already feel sorry for our future children.

Anyway, its late and I'm off to bed. Hope everyone has a great Friday.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Our Urban Rooster

Portland is an interesting place.

This morning I arose and made it upstairs to the kitchen for breakfast earlier than I have been doing since arriving in Portland: about 7 a.m. I was eating some cereal when I heard the strangest noise. It wasn't so much that the noise was strange; but hearing the noise right outside our back door, on the other side of the hedge, just feet away, at 7 a.m., was strange. It sounded like someone playing a flute.

Gene, who had been up doing some work for Birdsong, stumbled up the stairs into the kitchen. He always looks so funny when he wakes up in the morning, sort of like a person who hasn't slept in weeks. His long hair is completed disheveled, knotted up, and pointing every which way, his pajamas are all askew, his eyes squinty, and his brow furrowed. He has red marks and indentions all over his face where the pillow pressed in, and sometimes I can see some leftover drool, although this crazy beard he has now covers any of that. He walks like some outside force is pulling him towards it and holding him up. And it doesn't matter how long Gene has been up: he will look like this for hours if he is woken up before he's ready.

Anyway, when Gene is like this, it isn't a good time to ask important questions or try to have conversations.

Nevertheless, I asked him if he knew what the noise was. He looked at me and responded, simply, and matter of factly, like it was a completely normal thing, "Oh yeah. Our neighbor plays the flute outside every morning."

HUH? Seriously? There is some guy who gets up at 7 a.m. and plays the flute just feet away from my back door? Is he naked as a jay bird too, and does he smell like patchouli? I mean, I don't know if this is something that I can accept.

And the irony! People back home think that *I* am the hippie. Let me tell you my friends and family: compared to these folks, I may as well be the president of the Federalist Society.

(I must admit, though, that I briefly toyed with the idea of getting out my flute and doing a call and response type deal with my neighbor. I'll film and post here if I do.)

Hope all is well, Lisa

Too cool for our own party. . .

Today, things are better. We enjoyed the street market, as you can see from Gene's posting below. Everyone here is so. . . unique.

I miss my crew from Smith, Currie, & Hancock, and got to catch up with them today, which felt wonderful. Elysha, a partner for whom I work, is going to help us figure out this warranty stuff. I don't even care if we can't recover the $ (or scratch, as Gene calls it). I feel better just knowing that someone is on our side, advocating on our behalf, and that there is something that can be done about the situation. Helpless is not a comfortable feeling. Luckily, I don't feel it often.

I forgot to mention that Gene's friend Jeremy, who lives out here, threw a super nice BBQ party on Monday of last week in our honor, to welcome us to town. Isn't that nice? Unfortunately, Gene and I didn't get to attend it. Jeremy had called Gene in advance to let him know about it, and emailed him as well, but Gene didn't check his email or personal voicemail for days, apparently. So, we didn't get the messages, and didn't find out about our own party until after the fact.

We heard it was a great time, and that there was a great turnout. (Thanks Jeremy, and again, sorry!)

A bit beyond "fashionably late," we showed up at Jeremy's house 24 hours later and had our own little party. We had leftover kabobs, and they were delicious. It was a small party, just us three, but still a good time. Jeremy just bought a house on the northeast side of town, and it is a very cute place.

Wednesday night we saw Batman at the IMAX, and it was GREAT! If you haven't seen it, you should. We went with a few people, including the guy who lives in the small guest house on our property, and who will be a first year law student at L & C. His name is Chris Wisdom (good name for a future lawyer, eh? maybe the next Judge Learned Hand?), and he is super nice, which is good considering we are sharing our space with him. We had everyone over for dinner, too, and I made poached salmon with a dill hollandaise sauce, fresh broccoli , and pasta with fresh tomatoes. Salmon is everyone here. . . they sell it on the side of the road, sort of like peaches or watermelon in north Florida/south Georgia. I haven't bought salmon from a roadside vendor yet, though, but I'll be sure to post when I do and let you know how it goes.

Thursday night we went to a large outdoor art festival downtown with Jeremy and a couple of his friends. Gene and I really had to work hard to impress Jeremy's friends in light of our first impression, described above. They were all super nice, although we did get teased a lot, deservingly. (Oh, and the art festival on Thursday night wasn't the same one that Gene posted about, this is another thing. There really is a ton of stuff to do here.) We ate dinner downtown at a brewery. It was a great time.

On Friday night, I was pooped but Gene went to a BBQ at Jeremy's coworkers' house. They set up a movie screen on the side of the house and watched Talladega Nights. Gene said it was a blast. We laid low for the weekend, running errands, getting the house together, and attending that festival Gene described below.

So, sans my complaints about the warranty, that has been our past week here. I will take some video of the inside of the house once we are unpacked, and post it. Right now, it still sort of looks like a bomb exploded in some rooms. We still have a couple of weeks to get things together, before I start school.

Hope all is well with you, thanks for reading, and take care,

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Old Town Street Market

Well, we are getting into the swing of all things Portland....or rather Stumptown as it is also known. We meandered downtown to a clothing exchange company and Lisa bought two pair of pants (which she looks great in!!) and we decided to hit up A Bite of Oregon to see what was going down. When we finally found parking we saw this other group of tents that we assumed it was an Anti-Bite of Oregon hoot nanny. So we made our way that way instead and wandered through the isles of all sorts of neat stuff. I got a crepe to eat and Lisa got a Marionberry smoothie. That fruit is big here. So anyway, the market had sketch artist, soaps, musical instruments, and even plaster head casts so you'll always be able to see how you looked when you attended the Old Town Street Market. We were crossing the street when this guy pops out from no where. I'm not sure if he dressed like that to make money. I didn't see him get any and I didn't give him any. He was nice enough though.
Jimi Hendrix still cashing in

And this lady walked across the street too.

Lady with basket on head

We had a fun day.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Helpless, helpless

Neil Young said it.

Remember the over 1k of repairs the garage in Alamosa, CO basically extorted from us to get our car back? Well, we can't get reimbursed. The garage lied to us; they never coordinated the paperwork with the warranty company, so the warranty company never authorized the repairs, and has no liability to repay us. Not only did the garage repeatedly tell us that it was all authorized, but the warranty company also repeatedly told us it was authorized. I guess they just changed their minds. I've talked with everyone at the warranty company, and have gotten nowhere. And we all know how my talking to the folks at the garage ended. . .

I've gone ahead and disputed the charge with the credit card company, but I have a feeling that won't go anywhere either.

And that is it. I don't really know what else to say.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

I'm Giving It A "Ken Ayina Hora"

For those of you who may not know it, I am a MOT ("Member of the Tribe" aka, Jewish). My grandmother (I called her my "nonny") used to speak yiddish. What is yiddish, you ask? The Yivo Institute for Jewish Research defines Yiddish as follows:

"Yiddish was the vernacular language of most Jews in Eastern and Central Europe before World War II. Today, it is spoken by descendants of those Jews living in the United States, Israel, and other parts of the world. The basic grammar and vocabulary of Yiddish, which is written in the Hebrew alphabet, is Germanic. Yiddish, however, is not a dialect of German but a complete language—one of a family of Western Germanic languages, that includes English, Dutch, and Afrikaans. Yiddish words often have meanings that are different from similar words in German. The term "Yiddish" is derived from the German word for "Jewish." The most accepted (but not the only) theory of the origin of Yiddish is that it began to take shape by the 10th century as Jews from France and Italy migrated to the German Rhine Valley. They developed a language that included elements of Hebrew, Jewish-French, Jewish-Italian, and various German dialects. In the late Middle Ages, when Jews settled in Eastern Europe, Slavic elements were incorporated into Yiddish."

Anyway, I'm not quite sure how great Nonny's Yiddish was, but she passed some choice words and phrases onto my mom, who in turn, passed some choice words and phrases on to me. One of my favorites is "Ken Ayina Hora." I don't know the correct way to pronounce it, but Nonny taught me to say it like "kunn-a-horrie." The "kunn" we pronounced as in "country." The "a" was pronouced like the "uh" in "duh," and the "horrie" rhymes with the name "Morrie." To shorten it, we just say "kunna."

What does it mean? Well, I have a feeling that once you know it, you will use it all the time. Gene does. . . I think it is one of his favorite yiddisha expressions. I believe literally it means "without the evil eye," which is to say "not to jinx it." So when Gene might say, hypothetically, "Wow, I can't believe we have almost made it all the way from Florida to Colorado without one single car problem," I might respond, "Don't give it a kunna." If I were to say, "My back feels great and I've lifted like 30 boxes today," Gene might respond "Don't give it a kunna." And so if you are going to use the word "kunna," it will always be preceeded with "don't give it a." I'm sure there are other uses for the expression, but this is the way I learned.

And so, this brings me to the relevance of that phrase to this blog posting. Things have been going SO great here. Portland is absolutely beautiful. I love our house. The movers were so nice. In fact, everyone is incredibly nice. Our neighbors, the cashier at the grocery store,the guy who pumped gas for us yesterday (you can't pump your own gas in Oregon. . . so weird), everyone. And I mean ridiculously nice. Like we are back in the South nice. The car has been repaired already, and while the problem wasn't covered under the warranty, it didn't cost a ton. (It wasn't the radiator, but I can't remember what it was. . . some gasket or something. And while it was sort of related to the radiator, they said it didn't have anything to do with what those guys in Colorado did. . . just freak coincidence.) Gene and I are both so happy.

And so I shouldn't give it a kunna, but here I am. I can't help it. Everything has been so great today. And while we are waiting for the other shoe to drop, in light of every problem we have encountered during this move, we are at least enjoying these moments of calmness, happiness, and no-problems-ness. We hope it continues.

One thing that Gene and I know will continue is this blog. Although we have made it to Portland, so the traveling part of the saga is over, we know the adventures will continue, and we love sharing them all with our friends and family. This was my first blog, and I really enjoyed it (as you could probably tell). It has made me feel not so far away from home and the people I care about. Gene feels the same way too. The comments (Miss Holly, you ROCK!) and emails have helped us out so much when we were feeling down, so thank you! Your love and support really meant and mean a lot to us.

So, check back here if you like. . . we will continue to post about our adventures here, or misadventures, as the case may be. And PLEASE come visit! You all are invited (unless you are some random person who happened to stumble across this. . . you are not invited, sorry).


Friday, August 1, 2008

Broken Down, Again (The Car and My Spirit)

We are broken down on the side of the road as I type this. It is 10:30 pm Pacific time. The tow truck won't be here for two hours.

We arrived in Portland about 6 p.m. We saw the house that we will be moving in to tomorrow. We checked into a hotel. We went to dinner. We were on our way to Kinko's so I could print out my letter to the warranty company (to try to get reimbursed for the over 1k we just shelled out to fix the car) and fax it off, when. . . the coolant light came on again. Pretty weird considering we just paid over 1k to get the reservoir and radiator repaired. The temperature gauge immediately began to shoot up. We pulled over and had some extra water with us for this very purpose. We poured it in and guess what? It came gushing out of the bottom of the car in four different places. That is bad. That is really bad considering that this is what happened last Saturday, and we just paid over 1k to repair it. (Have I mentioned yet that just we paid over 1k to repair this very problem?)

I know it could be worse. At least we made it to Portland. And thank goodness it wasn't anything having to do with our health, a crime committed against us, or a family emergency. (Gene and I had already decided during the first breakdown that those problems would be waaaaay worse on the scale of bad things that could happen on a trip like this.)

But having said that, I still feel pretty awful. That hollow feeling in your gut and then the sensation of your heart dropping down into it. . . I've felt that too many times in the past few days, and then again tonight. Is someone trying to tell us something about Portland? Are we not meant to be here? Why is this happening? Is it just bad luck, or something more?

I'm so confused, sad, and mad at myself for feeling this upset, when I know it could be so much worse. And my heart hurts. It is hard to be far away from home and family and everything that I know; and those feelings of lonesomeness and fear and worry intensify infinitely when dealing with a problem like this. Gene's folks can't come pick us up. We can't borrow their extra truck. We don't have a friend to call. We are totally on our own. And it's hard.

Hope you all are doing well. We do miss you.