Adding Pages to the blog

I recently spent some time adding Pages to the top of my blog. (If you only follow this blog through an RSS feeder, you might have missed them) They are works in progress, but I am a list maker by nature, so it seemed like a natural thing... to make lists.

There is a list of all the things I have read and want to read.

There is a bucket list.

There is also an about me page (definitely still under construction).

Those of you that know me well, how would you describe me?
What is on your reading list?
What is on your bucket list?
What else do I need a page about?


Columbia will always have a place in my heart

They say you can't go home again. The same is true for going back to places where you have been a student.  You can't go back, but you can visit. And last week I did just that. I went back to visit friends in Columbia, Missouri, where I spent 3 years as a PhD student.

I took off at 2:30am Wednesday and headed to Portland for a 6am flight. After a small layover in Salt Lake City, I made it to Kansas City. And, what do you do when in Kansas City? You find BBQ.

We found Oklahoma Joe's. It is in a converted gas station on the Kansas side of KC.

The menu is great and the food was amazing. I had a simple pulled pork sandwich with a side of life-changing fries. The only thing left on the tray were the pickles. 

This was the first of many diet de-railing stops. In the course of 4 days, we visited Shakespeare's, D. Rowe's, Addison's and Andy's Frozen Custard. We grilled steaks one night and I had a lunch at the HyVee Grocery Store (Only the best for me)! I do miss the comfort food of the Midwest but living in Oregon sure makes dieting easier.

I watched two movies... in the theater. Went to see 'The Help' with Claire on Friday afternoon (I had read the book back in June). I went to see '30 minutes or Less' with Jonathon on Saturday afternoon. I haven't seen many movies in the theaters lately so this was quite the splurge.

To top it all off, Claire and I spent a lazy Saturday afternoon watching the Lifetime Movie Network's 'Stranger in My Bed'...a truly mockable flick that made for some entertaining viewing. We even managed to predict some of the lines.
Columbia is a great town and I enjoyed my time living there. I truly did. But for me, the people made my experience.  Many of the people who made Columbia so special have moved away to Arizona, Iowa, Oklahoma, Utah, Hawaii, Nevada, Texas, South Dakota, and elsewhere. But most of my Thursday Office Night Crew still lives there- for another year at least. And, despite all the places I went, amazing food I ate, and movies I got to see, the best part was spending time with Jonathon, Heidi, and Claire. Love you guys!


My dad's new toy

He has wanted one since 1995... it is about time. Go dad!


Wordless Wednesday 8-17-11

While at the state park this weekend, I saw kids playing in the lake. This diapered up kiddo preferred the icky, stagnant water between the floating pier and the shore.
(Her brother was wearing Oregon gear so I feel I can safely call her a 'baby' Duck)


I spent Saturday at Honeyman State Park in Florence, Oregon. My Grad and Career group was camping Friday to Sunday and, well, I don't camp. So, I got up at 6am on Saturday, grabbed some Starbucks and made the 2 hour trek south to meet them. We spent some time around the morning campfire and then decided we would try the beach. They have done these camp outs for years. And, every year they go to the beach. And, apparently, the weather rarely cooperates. 

This year was definitely an exception. Check out the views from the tops of the dunes.

I picked this spot to sit and enjoy the waves. Gorgeous! Thanks for cooperating, Oregon.

After the beach, we had sandwiches and hiked around the park and lake for a while and came back to camp in time to enjoy some camp stove fajitas. I then made the trek back to Corvallis (with my friend Kim along for the ride). I got to spend the day on the beach and in a State park and still sleep in my own bed. A good time.... and no sleeping on the ground :-)


How I Travel

I like routines. I like things clean. I am a planner. (If you ask my sister, she will say I am O.C.D.)

Toe-maato, Toe-mato!

There is a routine I go through when I travel (meaning being away from home more than one night). It goes something like this.

48 hours (or so) before departing:
Clean the house (vacuum, mop, dishes, counters, toilets, etc.).
Do laundry (so that everything I might want to pack is clean).
Pull out suitcase (complete with travel sized liquids containers- refill if necessary).
Make an overall packing list.
Set up online bill pay for anything that may come due while I am gone. (I typically only pay bills once a month but sometimes my travel dates occur across when this one bill paying session comes around.)
Set DVR for the time I am gone.

Night before I travel:
Pack my bags.
Make a "last minute list" of everything that cannot get packed the night before (i.e. cell phone charger, pillow).
Water the houseplants.
Make sure I have cash on hand (if not, I hit an ATM or a store with a cash back option).
Check mail. (I only do this once a week but I try to make sure I have done it right before I am gone).
Print boarding pass.

Day of travel:
Pack the things on the last minute list.
Load car.
Carry out all trash (including things from the fridge that will expire while I am gone).
Unplug any electronics that can be unplugged.
Lock up doors and windows.
I always park in the same area of airport parking so I can remember where it was (and I put the parking zone's letter/number into my phone's calendar on my return date).

First, I check the mail. It is an apartment mailbox so it can get so full they stop delivering.
When I come home, the house is clean (because I left it that way).
My suitcase goes immediately to the laundry area and gets unpacked and put away as I arrive (or if I am home after midnight, it is first thing the next morning).
I plug things back in as I need them, saving me electricity by not having items plugged in that are not in use.

What did I miss? What else are you certain to do before/after you travel?

Google's sense of humor

Google definitely has a sense of humor.

Example 1: I took a moment to clean up my browsing history. I use Google Chrome as my browser . You have to select what you want to delete and how far back. I love that I was choosing what to 'Obliterate' and that I had the choice of deleting items from 'the beginning of time'.

Google also has a sense of humor when you search for ridiculous directions. Ask a silly question, get a silly answer. For example, when I ask how to get to Hawaii from my town here in Oregon, they tell me how. Notice Step 13: Kayak across the Pacific Ocean (2,756miles). Thanks Google!
Do you have other examples of Google being humorous?


My upstairs neighbors

I live in an apartment. In fact, I have been there just over a year now. For the first year, there was a tiny girl and her occasional boyfriend who lived upstairs. I am assuming she was tiny. Either that or she levitated rather than walking on the floor because I rarely heard her up there. I know three other things about her: She played the flute, she ate lots of things that needed to be chopped on a cutting board between 5-6pm, and her boyfriend slept over on Sunday evenings (don't ask me how I know that last one). If it had not been for those things, I would have assumed the apartment above me was vacant. Apparently, she moved out in July.

Fast forward to two weekends ago when I got new upstairs neighbors.

If noise level is any indication, they a band of overweight, tap dancers and they have a small child who is required to run from one end of the apartment to the other every 4 minutes.

I miss my levitating, fruit-chopping, flute player.

Wordless Wednesday's 8-10-11

I found artwork for my bedroom this weekend (I haven't hung it yet, but I will soon). I love it!

Currently looking forward to: Spending Saturday at Honeyman State Park in Florence
Currently giddy about: my trip to Missouri next week
Currently dreading: the mountain of qualitative data sitting on my desk
Currently reading: Time is a River by Mary Alice Monroe


The Murano needs a name

I think cars need a name.

I have had my Nissan Murano for one year (it wasn't new, but it was new to me). It took a bit of a beating in February (read the story here). I was still on the hunt for a name for my car when this happened so I decided to temporarily call her Fergie (because she had a black eye- get it!).

After spending last week at the body shop, she is all better.Thus, I think she need a new, more permanent name.

Here is what you need to know:
  • She is definitely a "She:... girl or gender neutral names only.
  • She is a Nissan Murano.
  • She is silver.
  • Word on the street (mixed results on Google) is that 'Murano' is a slang Spanish word for pig so piggy-themed names could be appropriate. Leave your suggestion in the comment section.


Wordless Wednesdays 8-3-11

In honor of my parents who celebrate their 39th wedding anniversary on Friday.


Couldn't care less....

I saw a post a while back on BryanAllain.com called 21 Things I Couldn't Care Less About

Here is his list:
1…what the school board voted to do last week.
2…which of my friends have recently changed their Facebook avatar.
3…the new cast of Dancing with the Stars.
4…anything that involves the phrase ‘APR Financing’.
5…the score from last night’s WNBA game.
6…which celebrity wore it best.
7…how loud your motorcycle is.
8…whether you’re on Team Jacob or Team Edward.
9…your proficiency in whatever first-person shooter game is the flavor of the month.
10…what Lady Gaga is or isn’t wearing
11…the correct pronunciation of that word I just mispronounced.
12…the weight loss secret doctors don’t want me to know about.
13…why you won’t watch LOST.
14…who put the bop in the bop she bop she bop.
15…how much you drank last weekend.
16…what they talked about on The View this morning.
17…how much research your stock trading software allows me to do.
19…which state won Miss USA.
20…the price of tea in China.
21…anything Keith Olberman or Bill O’Reilly has said in the last 100 years

I agree with most of his list, but it got me thinking: What are the things that I couldn't care less about? Here are my additions...

What Lindsay Lohan has done.
Who let the dogs out?
My horoscope.
Any celebrity and their 'love' children...this means you, too Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The size of your carbon footprint.
Your score on any Facebook game.
Who won a Tony Award?
Any of the 'Real Housewives' of any city, anywhere
The latest research study that says coffee is bad. I am going to drink it anyway.
The latest research study that says coffee is good. I am going to drink it anyway.
Royal weddings.
Al Gore.

What else should be on this list?


Sometimes a weekend...

Sometimes a weekend is just a weekend. I had grand plans for this weekend that would have been followed by a fabulous blog post about the amazing Oregon-like things I did with my weekend. Instead, this was one of those veg-around-the-house-wearing-your-pajamas-nearly-all-day kinda weekends.

I went to a Corvallis Knights game on Friday night with some friends. It was a great time. Saturday morning I rolled out of bed and drove across town to weigh-in at a Weight-watchers meeting. I weighed in, but didn't stay for the actual meeting. I ate a breakfast bar and back to bed I went - for 5 more hours. I got up long enough to run to the grocery store and find something for lunch/dinner. After eating, it was some DVR on the couch and an early bedtime.

Sunday was a virtual repeat. My grand plans went out the window. I did make it to my dinner & documentary group (we had dessert instead of dinner and it was a movie instead of a documentary - but who's counting?) but I was in bed less than 20 minutes after the movie ended.

I guess my body needed sleep more than it needed an entertaining Oregon weekend. Maybe next weekend.

Currently Craving: fabulous Columbia, MO food (I am making a list of places I want to visit in a few weeks)
Currently Reading: Cutting for Stone as my entertainment book and Jesus Calling as my daily devotional (Thanks Betsy!)
Currently Planning: to check some more things off my Summer Bucket List