Thursday, August 31, 2006

this week is going well. it's been a relatively light teaching week, as several students have taken the week off before school begins next week. i've been doing a lot of calling to tree specialists. we have a monstrous oak tree right near our house in the back yard, which is about 4 feet in diameter. it drops tons of tree/leaf garbage on the lawn and the roof, and obviously needs to be pruned. i did a lot of calling two weeks ago, and only got one bid out of someone - the others never showed up. i met with another company doing work in the neighborhood, who thought the tree was dead and should come down. that would cost around $3700! they said they'd also prune all the other trees on our properties- 2 rhodies, 1 lilac, 2 japanese maples, and dig up an apricot & an apple tree so that we can plant fruit trees of our liking and give these away to someone, but still... that sounds like a lot of money. j doesn't want to part with the tree, so i have to call a bunch of other people today. i never know who to go with... it's difficult. the lowest bidder may do really awful work, but so may the highest bidder. i've been getting the names of companies from angie's list, so they come with reports, but there are so many options, and most companies have some bad reports. it's hard to make a decision. however, with this as my most difficult "homework" for today, i can't really complain! :) life is good.

Monday, August 28, 2006

this is what is called a "butt shot" in the climbing world. a beautiful picture of one's bum, usually the only thing visible from the ground when climbing. this is from this past weekend, where i took forever to climb a Really Easy Route at smith rock in terrebonne, or.

this is me at work at b & c's wedding. this is the last time i plan on playing publicly for the next year if i can help it. i'm ready for a break from performing!

the lovely couple, c & b. congratulations!

this is a picture of j's side of the family, from b & c's wedding last weekend, minus the mother of the groom.

these are some pictures from the wedding rehearsal for j's brother's wedding. it was beautiful!

this is a picture from a party held in t's honor, who was returning to his real home in arizona. he was p's roommate for a few months here in portland. anyway, with all of the rock squad gathered together in one place, p took the time to pass on the trophy to k for being the best rafting captain ever. j & i missed the big rafting trip this year because we were on our honeymoon. where were our priorities??? we also got to watch a video of the frolicking the night before the rafting trip, in the thriving metropolis of maupin. pretty funny. i hope to get a copy soon. it was hilarious!!!

these pics (and the following ones) were taken on my cell phone. i had to zoom in, which made them really tiny. these are from my sister in law's white coat ceremony, which new medical students have when they begin medical school.

our friend e had a bridal shower a couple weeks ago. she got married the same weekend as j's brother, so we couldn't make her wedding. haven't heard the details yet - hope everything went wonderfully!

this is a lake near mt st helens which didn't exist before it erupted. this area was a great example of regrowth and rejuvenation. in some places (not in the picture) you could see still dead areas, along with areas which weren't touched by the blast. very interesting, and the guide gave a fantastic talk. you can see mt. st. helens in the background on the right.

this is a view from the johnston observation station area up on mt. st. helens. the plumes kept changing and coming out of different places.

this is vinny. he's my cat. my cat who gets the couch beneath him very very hairy. it looks surprisingly clean. must've had a visit from the cleaning fairy.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

had a great great weekend. we drove down to the skull hollow campground near smith rock. we went the mt. hood way, and saw all the runners beginning the hood to coast race. for all of you from out of town, "hood to coast" is a relay race from timberline lodge on mt hood to the oregon coast. teams of 12 people divide up the 5-8 mile legs. it starts on a friday and ends mid saturday. j's father runs it every year, and his brother has done it several times. each team has two vans which each carry 6 people, and they take turns dropping off runners/cheering on each other and sleeping. j was a driver one year for his brother's team. we've volunteered for it in the past. i was reticent about going that route, but j promised it would be normal traffic, and he was right. the traffic was just a little snarly going the opposite way.
we reached the campground around 9:30pm and set up our tent & hung out until all our friends had arrived. some were mountain biking the next day, and some were climbing. we went to bed around 11:30pm and woke up around 6am & reached smith rock around 7:30am. yep. smith rock. no mountain biking. we opted for rock climbing instead. it was just j & i. we did a couple of really easy climbs. j lead climbed each route (set the gear/anchors), and then i took forever to make it up, then j would climb it again and clean it (pick up all the gear).
i'm still mixed about rock climbing. i can't exactly say i enjoy it, that it's fun and something i look forward to doing. i usually dread trips a little.. i get really nervous before starting a route, not to mention mid-climb. i often cry from frustration. however, after climbing a route, i do have a small feeling of accomplishment. i'm just not at the point yet where i'm NOT completely terrified during a climb, and i'm not sure the terror is worth the feeling of accomplishment. hanging from rock and trusting my weight on tiny nubs is not fun for me. i don't get a happy rush from completing a climb. i definitely get a rush, but it's more negative than positive, more relief that the scariness is over. i suppose i'll continue to try the outdoor climbing, but just under certain conditions. i don't like it when people watch, especially people i know. climbers usually go out regularly to the same places, and in groups, so it's sort of hard to NOT run into people you know. it's a very social sport. i realize that when people are watching, they're always rooting for you to make it, to enjoy it. but i'm a private person. i don't enjoy attention. i have always preferred working on things by MYSELF. i've never been the type to practice & learn music at work; i don't enjoy group exercise, like yoga or aerobics; i prefer exercising by myself. i feel uncomfortable working on a bouldering problem with others observing. climbing at the gym would be more fun if nobody were ever watching. j loves the climbing so much, and i'd like to be able to share that with him, so i guess i'll keep trying it. i do think it's good to push oneself and stray out of one's "comfort zone"... it's all about balance in life. i'm still trying to figure out what that means to me, how to apply it to my life.
anyway, by 10:30am it was getting really really hot near the rock, and i started feeling nauseated, so we found some shade & rested & drank tons of water, and finally decided to call it a (short) day. we drove into bend & showered at j's brother's house. we met a friend of mine for lunch who is from nyc who was in town playing clarinet for the cascade music festival. i hadn't seen him since we were roommates in 1999 in park city, utah for a summer festival there. good times!
we walked around downtown bend for awhile, and enjoyed some drafts at the deschutes brewery. the little league championship was on tv, so we watched the tail end of the game between some team from georgia and a team from beaverton, oregon (which happens to be our town- we're more in beaverton than portland, luckily -for our taxes- caught in that unincorporated part of "portland"). unfortunately beaverton lost. oh well. it's a big accomplishment for them to just get that far. weird seeing closeups of such young people on tv. lots of em were just as the boys were spitting - just like the pros- the moms must be so proud. :)
as it was super hot out, and b & c were still off working on c's classroom, we opted to see a movie. we hadn't been to the movie theaters since we saw capote with b & c at thanksgiving (we're netflix people). we saw talladega nights: the ballad of ricky bobby. it was one of the few playing with little wait. it was funny at times, but i was falling asleep, partly due to the beer from before, partly due to the movie. glad we saw it as a matinee. it WAS fun, though, to see a movie on such a large screen. it does make a difference. it'd be nice to get one of those projector tv/dvd player things sometime in the future. it wouldn't work anywhere in this house, but if we ever move, i'd look for a place that had a nice large wall in the rec room.
after the movie, we met b & c at a wine bar that's walking distance from their house & tasted a few wines, before walking to a restaurant also nearby. we enjoyed waffles they cooked this morning before our drive back. we swung by a grocery store to pick up ingredients for pasta salad on our way home, and spent the afternoon at a friend's bbq, celebrating the "real new year", the beginning of the school year. this friend owns a smoker, and sure knows how to use it. he had beef, pork, and salmon for us to enjoy. we ate for a good 3 hours... nice way to say goodbye to summer!

Friday, August 25, 2006

wow. i've been busy. or perhaps i've just been too lazy to download pictures... last weekend was a big "family" weekend. j's brother got married! we went down to eugene friday afternoon. i rehearsed with a pianist for the ceremony music, then we went over to the rehearsal & then on to the rehearsal dinner. the next day we did a little wine tasting before heading to the ceremony. i (& the pianist) was the music for the ceremony. all went fine. the whole shindig was in the back yard of the bride's parents' home. everything looked beautiful. the reception was fun. good food, good band.
i finally have most of my teaching schedule hammered out for the fall. just have a few spaces open, waiting to be filled. i'm interested to see how tired i'll be after the first "real" teaching week after labor day.
tonight we're going down to smith rock to camp out. tomorrow morning we're going mountain biking, and i hope to spend the afternoon hanging out with friends who are playing the cascade music festival in bend. we're staying with the newlyweds tomorrow night, and possibly will climb a little sun morn before heading back home to make a 3pm bbq at a neighbor's house.
i must get going - my sister in law has her white coat ceremony today - she's beginning medical school at OHSU (oregon health sciences university). never been to one of these before...

Monday, August 14, 2006

this weekend j spent all weekend at his brother's bachelor party, and i was here. we only have one digital camera between us, so he got to take it. friday night and saturday, i stayed home doing chores & watching junk tv & posting the rest of the honeymoon pictures (see below), which has taken a LONG TIME. so glad it's finished. saturday night, i met j's brother's fiancee, c, and some of her friends, for dinner at a cuban restaurant called pambiche. the food was good and was super cheap. we went to the sapphire hotel afterwards (used to be a brothel a long time ago) for drinks & dessert. we all called it an early night. on sunday morning, my parents and a visiting old student of my mom's, n, came over to pick me up around 9:30am to go visit mt. st. helens. i've only been to the ape caves (lava tubes you can hike/climb through), so it was nice to finally visit the different visitor centers. very interesting to see the direction of the blast, what had survived the blast, and new growth and rejuvenation in the places affected by the blast. while up there, the steam coming out of vents in the middle kept changing. we hiked around a little, & got dusty. not much grass around there. on the way back, we stopped at the dairy queen. :) j was at home when i returned, wondering where i was. he had a good time at paulina lake, where the group was camping. i was so tired i went to bed at 8:45pm and actually slept almost 12 hours. now it's off to a busy teaching week. i have nine students today!

Friday, August 11, 2006

our honeymoon began with a flight from portland to frankfurt, and then from frankfurt to milan. at milan, we took a bus from the malpensa airport to milano centrale, the main train station. it was super hot at the train station, as it was open air and packed with people. at the time, the computers were all down, so you could only buy train tickets with cash, no credit cards. we didn't have many euros, so we spent a long time searching for an ATM (bancomat) that was functioning - this being italy, the first one we found was down. we had only one train that we could take, and we had to make sure we got on it! it felt like a crazy scavenger hunt. we finally found one and purchased our tickets to zermatt, switzerland. our train was late, and we had a very tight connection to a smaller train in brig, switzerland, which we just barely missed. this meant we had to wait an hour for the next one, which turned out to be a bus, because we had missed the last train of the day. we took the bus all the way to tasch, where we all de-boarded and hopped on another short train which finally took us to zermatt. once there, the hotel's vehicle picked us up at the town square & deposited us at the hotel. what a long journey!!!

THE MATTERHORN. we're in zermatt, switzerland! zermatt is a small resort town - skiing in the winter, hiking in the summer. it's a pedestrian-only town. electric vehicles are allowed, which is how the hotels & stores transport guests & food, but they're all really tiny trucks. everyone has to take a cog railway to get to zermatt. no cars at all.

this is the view of the gondolas. every morning, there would be a mass exodus of hikers with their serious hiking boots & walking sticks & packs going TO the gondolas and up into the mountains, and then around 1 and after going the other way.

this is the outside of our hotel, coeur des alpes. it's built into the side of a mountain, and to get there, you walk through a cave, and take an elevator 30 feet or so up to the lobby. beautiful place, friendly staff. we highly recommend it.


me, on one of the bridges in town.

this is a view of the town. after exploring downtown, picking up some lunch and a 2/3 bottle of wine, we took a gondola up to the hills for some hiking, exploring, and good views.
the sheep have their very own hut!

we just hiked up past the hut on the left, the one with the sheep.

i woke up the second morning and looked out our balcony and saw sheep grazing right below!

on our second full day, we took a gondola up to the summit where there's summer skiing on the glacier. there's an ice palace built inside the glacier, and on fridays they have white wine tasting inside the palace. we were lucky to be going up on a friday, so we enjoyed a high altitude buzz! after exploring the ice palace, we took a lift up to an observation deck for a better view of the glacier and the horizon, filled with lots of peaks.

these are views from the gondola ride.

on the way to the ice palace and wine tasting.

entrance to the ice palace.

inside the ice palace.

wacky displays in the ice palace.

wine tasting in the glacier.

j & his wine.

leaving the ice palace.

a big glacier.

pretty! at the lookout point

cross at the lookout point.

we were up there!

st. bernards are allowed on the gondolas!

this is for you, FC Beer & Salad!!

j at lunch


zermatt at sunset.
matterhorn in the a.m.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

a view from our hotel room. the river down there goes all the way through town, dividing it in half.
our cog railway. we took this up to gornergrat, waayyyy up high! there were lots of stops along the way. you can get out and hike up to another one, or down to others. we took it all the way up to the highest stop, gornergrat, and after exploring, hiked down to the next stop & enjoyed cold beer. :) hiking down is much easier than hiking up!


a stop on the way up.

these poor dogs are waiting around for people to have their pictures taken with them.