Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Toothpaste

I appreciate the questions that I've had from many of you about how I'm doing, whether I still have morning sickness and whatnot. My response to that is that since statistics denote that 90% of women have morning sickness...apparently that means that 10% don't. What that also means is that those of us in that 10% are destined to make the other 90% even sicker at the injustice of it all.

So no... I haven't been pukey or queazy. My appetite has not suffered (in fact, lately it has included an increase of hotwings and nachos.) But lest you 90%ers are feeling slighted, I thought I should probably let you know we haven't been all fun and games over here...

The last few weeks I have developed a heightened gag reflex in response to brushing my teeth. As that isn't something I'm just going to sign off of for the next six months... we've been working hard on some solutions. The first was to stop using my battery-powered toothbrush, which helped at least with severity.  At first I was just using it without turning it on, but since that seemed silly, I pulled out my old-school pink one. But the biggest breakthrough was while I was at my parent's house this weekend. Cam had our toothpaste in his bag, so the only one in the bathroom was my little brother's bubblebum-mint. It worked fantastically. I ran some tests with some of my other sibling's toothpastes and discovered that the stronger the mint flavor, the worse it was.

So yesterday at the grocery store, we went looking for a non-mint toothpaste. Aside from cinnamon (which isn't great either) the only flavor option was:
Fruity bubblegum.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Year Two in Review

With our anniversary coming up this week, it looks like it’s already time for the (2nd) annual Year in Review!  This has been a pretty nutty year for us, so brace yourself… ready? Here we go!

January: Which was the start of our last semester at the Y. I designed icons for a budding website about dairy products in my imaginary spare time and Cameron enjoyed his interior design class and made a snowman over eight feet tall. It continued to snow into…

February: I took pictures of everything and everyone for my photography class (including Cameron when his eye broke). Cam spent the month physically exhausted from his beginning swimming class. I spent the month with my fingers physically exhausted from using my track pad to put my portfolio together.

March: Started on a sad way when the new ward directory came out and Spencer was gone. However it picked right up when I was invited to LA to meet with the marketing folks at Nestle. We competed in the Samba at dancesport, and didn’t do so poorly for a couple of white kids.

April: Was a whirlwind of finishing projects, and packing important things the way up to our graduation from college! The next day we packed up every thing that we could fit into three cars, made the 12 hour drive, (which turned into 16 with the jeep dying) and moved everything into grandpa’s garage for storage.

May: We went to my sister’s wedding on the 1st, and early the next morning we flew to New York! I worked downtown at my internship and Cam worked on not getting mugged. Cam found a job showing apartments in the Bronx (he’s so hardcore). We had our first roommates for awhile… and then moved into a studio. We walked to New Jersey, and took a bus to Boston.

June: Cam still managed to not get mugged, and I won the Wicked Lottery (again).  We said goodbye to our adventures in NewYork and took off on our epic East-Coast tour. We stayed in D.C a few days, then hit up Charlottesville, Willamsberg,, and Garner, NC. We then spent 17 hours on busses through 4 more states to get to Columbus, OH for my brother’s wedding. After a jaunt to Cleveland and Kirtland we finally flew home… oh wait we didn’t have one.

July: Was spent as “homeless, jobless, vegabonds” as my brother so kindly put it. Both our parents so graciously put up with us while we waited for our promised apartment to be vacated. I looked for a job and Cameron started training for the teaching job at Kaplan. We wakeboarded, rafted, and swam for our lives into…

August: We moved into our apartment, and no longer had to live out of suitcases. We went on a backpacking trip with Cam’s sibs.  We decided it was time to try to be normal people, so I got a real job and Cam made jam and read books until…

September: When Cam finally got to start optometry school. He spent his Saturdays listening to BYU football on the radio. I learned about yoga and jalapenos. We also rocked the sidewalk chalk festival.

October: Cam learned about anatomy and pharmacology. I learned about cabbage and started listening to my podcast playlist during my epic commute. We scared tons of small children with our “Monster Car” and planned out the next 50 years of our life to make sure we don’t get boring.

November: Cameron became tight with our local raisin people. We both got callings (me to relief society, and cam to the Young Men’s). We rocked the booksale, spent thanksgiving with Cameron’s Family, and I got a new beautiful camera.

December: Cameron took Finals and taught a high-speed online class for Kaplan. Between study sessions he made a telescope and crocheted Christmas presents. Kim ate off paperware to reduce bug consumption.  

Wow, that was an action-packed year! I know what your thinking… how could next year possibly be as interesting? Well, we thought the same thing and decided we couldn’t do it without some help. That’s why in June we’ll have a new addition to the family... yup…you just heard that. But no worries, these former vegabond wanderers are far from finished with their crazy adventures. 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Cameron-scope

My mother-in-law mentioned the other day that it seems like it must be harder to blog since we got home from New York since our lives aren’t quite as interesting. I just want to assure you all (and myself) that our lives are in fact still at least somewhat interesting. I’ve just been busy- which I like to think is also evidence that my life is interesting right?

Alright, well if you need some solid proof I do have this for you:
And there’s even a story behind it. Cameron had the privilege of purchasing a lens kit for school (so he can practice his "1 or 2?") and it got here a couple weeks ago. I went to a relief society dinner, and when I came home, Cameron had drawn a picture, done the math and built himself a telescope. It actually works pretty well. When I got home he was surrounded by cardboard, scissors and a knife, looking out our window trying to see how far away he could read license plates. The good news, he can see 2 blocks away. The bad news, we haven’t had a clear night since its creation. 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Gross Discovery

I'll admit that I am generally afraid of bugs. If I see something crawling up the wall, I will yell for Cam to come get it without even stopping to figure out what it is. If it's on the ceiling, I'm won't even blink for fear it will jump off at me.

So I was at work last week, and there were no cups in the cupboard, so I opened the dishwasher and started pulling out the top shelf, and there was a cockroach sitting on a plate. I screamed and tried to shut it with my foot which didn't work out well. At this point one of the sales guys walked in and asked what was up, and I told him so he came over to look. Right then, the cockroach jumped onto the dishwasher door and scuttled into the hole where the latch goes. Nick tried to shut it quickly and squish him in the latch, but he missed.

Since then I've been afraid of the dishwasher. A few days later we had a work party and I looked everywhere and there were no paper plates, so I had to use a regular one. Afterwords I very cautiously opened the dishwasher and was carefully inspecting before reaching my hand in-- right then, my boss came in and startled me. He said "woah... are you scared of the dishwasher?" I told him the story, and he said "Yeah, but you should be okay now, when they really like it is right after it runs and it's all hot and steamy in there." That's when I put together that every dish that comes out of there has probably had a bug on it... after it got washed.

But, as my boss pointed out, they must be pretty clean bugs to live in the dishwasher.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Light Parade

Saturday was the Forest Grove Holiday Light Parade: basically, an opportunity to test out how well my new camera functions at ISO:3200. Cam's family came over and we all had a chilly time watching the parade together. 

The parade itself consisted of several National Guard hummers, several trucks with lights, a few semis with lights, the fire department, a few retirement home vans with lights (and residents), and miscellaneous pieces of farm equipment...with lights. Added up, that's nearly every vehicle in Forest Grove!
The old horse drawn firetruck
 A city utility vehicle
 Some local business float (a truck w/ trailer)
  And a little red wagon

Next year I'm going to try to convince the Optometry Student Wives club that we could probably make the winning entry... Maybe get everyone to walk through with lit up strollers or something. 

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Picture of Christmas

Cam and I went shopping on Friday so that he could buy me my Christmas present:
Isn't he Great?! Okay, so really I'd been saving up since we got home from New York, but I was still a tad short so the last bit was my Christmas Present.  It's the new Nikon D3100 which is a lot like the D5000, but it also does HD video.

Now that I finally have a new camera I can show you what I was working with:
Cute, I know. But when the screen stopped working and there was no viewfinder, it really added a lot of...guesswork. Am I zoomed in? Is this good lighting? Did that take? No idea. It was being back in the pre-digital days. 
Really the most ironic thing is that my new camera had to have it's picture taken by this guy... but let me tell you, my pink Kodak EasyShare never looked better!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Book Sale!

I don't think I've mentioned this before on my blog, but I collect books. Once I even showed up at 7 to the BYU 90% off book sale that opened at 8, and then I missed my 9:00 class standing in the checkout line. But I digress.

This week was the Forest Grove Library book sale. Since today was the last day of the sale, you could get an entire bag (BYOB) of books for $5. I sent Cam to scope on Wed since he had the day off. When I told told him we were going to be at the doors a half hour before they opened, and he thought we would be the only two there. Well, he was wrong. There were a few people already waiting when we got there, and by the time the door opened the line was to the parking lot. 

We were lucky we came with a gameplan because it was pretty much madness in there. I was also sorely tempted by the encyclopedias for $5 (for the whole set!) but Cam talked me out of it since we still have many a move ahead of us. Will I regret that the rest of my life? Probably.

Cam was in charge of packing our bag while I scoured for paperbacks and small children's books to fill the spaces. All in all we ended up with 51 books (thats 10 cents each). Just so you have an idea of how awesome that was, we added up the prices on the back of the books and it was over $350. A pretty good deal. 
So in the near future, if you happen to find yourself in need of Australian Animals in my Backyard, The Unbelievable Bubble Book, or perhaps Sailing Alone Around the World: A Biography... you know where to find them. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Raisin Maven

I haven't posted for awhile, but I have a couple days off school, and Kim put writing about this experience on my to-do list:

One of the many books I read a book described a maven as "a person that is an expert in a particular field". They know all the details of all the different brands, all the best places to buy them and the best sales to watch out for. They're the kind of people that you would talk to before making a big purchase. Naturally the makers of these products would like all the the mavens in their field to think that they are the best thing since sliced bread. And so they make maven traps.

To illustrate, I'll share an example from the book: if you look on the back of a Dove soap wrapper, there is an 800 number asking for comments and questions. Well nobody really cares enough to call except for soap mavens, and in this way Dove can make sure that soap mavens everywhere are getting excellent customer service, special coupons, and plenty of reasons to talk about Dove the next time someone asks about soap. The 800 number is a maven trap.

Last week I found a piece of rubber in my raisins. It was the same size, shape and color as a raisin. In fact, I didn't even notice it until it was in my mouth and I was thinking, "man this is a chewy raisin". So I found the maven trap on the bottom of the box and sent them an email. Within the next two days I was the proud owner of $4.00 of free money towards any HyTop products and two 24oz packages of raisins.It is good to be a maven, but perhaps next time I'll try something a little more exciting than raisins.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Guest Post

Can't take credit for the writing on this one, just the good idea! This story was written by my sister KayCee who is at the Y. In her freshman English class they had to write a personal narrative and she called me for ideas. I reminded her of this story from last summer, and she was so funny I just had to share! (Don't worry, you'll see someone you know come up!)

Pictures are Worth a Thousand Words… and a Few Laughs 
-by KayCee
       “What’s going on?” I ask my older brother Brandon. We had just safely pulled over to the side of the road after the old, red station wagon, which I nicknamed Myrtle the Mom Mobile, had suddenly turned off and left us cruising sixty miles on hour down the freeway in neutral.
      “I don’t know…” he replied as he frantically searched through the obvious answer to the mysterious behavior of our vehicle. Out of battery? No the lights and radio still work. Out of gas? No, according to his calculations we should still have five miles left. The engine isn’t smoking, the car smells fine. What could be wrong?
      It was the end of June and we were about three miles outside of Tremonton, Utah on our way to Brigham Young University. He was enrolled in the summer semester and I for the BYU gymnastics sports camp. I was sixteen and we were on the last leg of our tiring twelve hour car ride hoping to arrive in Provo by eight that evening. It was now five-thirty and we were stopped between a mountain and a ditch with only billboards and never ending green fields with lonely small houses dotting the side of the road for miles.
       Brandon finished his assessment of the car and the only conclusion is that somehow, though his calculations say otherwise, we must have run out of gas. His explanation of how at the rate at which the car burned the gas against the speed we were going and the head wind that must have been present didn’t mean a thing to me. I only understood that we were stuck, in the middle of nowhere, Utah, with no gas and no one within a two hours to rescue us.
      “I’m going to go over to that house…” he said pointing across the ditch down a dusty gravel road.
      “And do what exactly?” I replied. Was he crazy? How did he know that anyone was even home? No way was I going with him.
       “I’m just going to stay here”. After securely locking the doors, I watched my brother climb down into the ditch, hop the barb wire fence, and trek up the driveway to some stranger’s house. As he reached the door, a man came out of the garage. From my safe location, I could see them talking. Then the man went to pull his truck around as Brandon headed down the driveway. I felt my phone vibrate. It was Brandon.
       “Hello…?”
       “Hey, he’s getting his truck and said that he’ll drive me to town to the gas station. It’s just a few miles up the road. We’ll be back soon. Call Kim and tell her we’re coming but will be a bit later than expected” Well that’s an understatement but whatever you say. So I dialed my older sister’s number as I watched Brandon drive off in the stranger’s truck. Our conversation went something like this:
        “Hey Kim, so guess what? We ran out of gas outside Tremonton, Utah. Brandon overestimated our gas mileage and now I’m sitting alone in the car while he’s off with some guy who happened to live across the fence from where we’re stopped. So we’re going to be a little late tonight. This remind you of anyone?”  I hear her laughing in the background. I was referring to the multiple occasions my dad has similarly overestimated his car’s abilities and left him mysteriously out of gas.
        “Yeah. No problem… in the meantime why don’t you take pictures? It’ll make the time pass by quicker, plus I want to see when you get here!” Um, because that’s weird?
        “Ok sure Kim. Whatever you want. See ya.” So… what should I do? Oh, take pictures. Right. I rummaged through the piles of suitcases, backpacks, duffle bags and pillows necessary to ensure comfort while at college until I found my camera.
        I searched for something interesting on the desolate landscape and my eye came across a billboard maybe two hundred yards away. I zoomed my camera in to see what it said.
         “Travel J’s of Tremonton Utah: 3 miles ahead.” Click. Putting two and two together I realized that this was the nearest gas station. Wow, Brandon was cutting it really close even before we ran out of gas. As this realization hit me a car passed by rocking the car and my heart along with it. Click. I watched it speed passed and grow smaller and smaller until it was out of sight.
        I continued my search for interesting things to take pictures of. A semi-truck came way too close rattling the car so hard I thought it was going to tip. Click. After recovering from the rocking I looked out at the freeway and saw no other cars coming. When would I ever get an opportunity like this again? I have always wanted to stand in the middle of the road, especially a freeway, because they’re usually way too busy. I was drawn to the idea the instant it occurred to me. Doubling checking that there really were no cars, like I had to, I cautiously got out and walked to the median of the two lanes. Click. Myrtle was sitting there looking as embarrassing as ever and, though the experience was thrilling, hurriedly I jumped back into the car. I scanned my pictures I’d taken so far. Billboard, car, semi-truck about it hit our car, and the car on the side of the road. Wow, what a collection. I began another search of something to take a picture of.
       I found another billboard, on my side of the road, was one of those “Pass it on” messages. This one sported a picture of Thomas Edison with big black letter that read, “On the 10,000 try there was light… OPTMISM, Pass it on.” Another car shook me as it passed by without stopping to help my lonesome self. Click. Wait, what did that say? I could not believe it. I had to get a picture of the incredible irony of the situation. Click.
       I continued sitting for what seemed like forever, by myself, with only an empty Cheez-its box (click), a few oatmeal cream pies (click) and Edison to keep me company. Finally, my brother returned with a full gas can and a thankful heart to the Good Samaritan who drove him to get some gas. Oh, Kodak moment! Click. Soon we were back on our way to Provo.
       I showed my sister and all my friends on Facebook, the beginning of my summer adventures.  The story of us running out of gas outside Tremonton has become a joke in my family. Anytime my sister passes through, I get a text saying, “KayCee, guess where we are…?” Running out of gas outside Tremonton has become the highlight of that trip. I give credit to my sister and how she made me take pictures of the semi-traumatic experience.
         And if a man ever knocks on your door asking for you to help him because he ran out of gas, please help him. I might be sitting in the car all alone, waiting for him to come back. 

The Proof: Brandon hops the fence and walks to the house


The nice man saves the day!


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Our 50 Year Anniversary

For family night last week, Cam and I decided it was time to come up with some good life goals- in order to do this, we came up with a rough plan detailing the next 48 years of our marriage. It was a great fun time- we laughed, we came up with some good life direction, and we even teared up a bit when our first child graduated and moved out (they just grow up so fast). Some other highlights include:
  • Cam will be coaching soccer in 2017
  • I'm scheduled to nap from 2018-2019 so that's not a good time to visit
  • Cam gets to buy a new car if he pays off school by 2020
  • I'll have a hostile takeover of the PTA in 2023. Cam hopes to volunteer for the FFA.
  • Cam is scheduled to be balding around 2025
  • We'll be taking a summer off to motorbike across Australia in 2028 (anyone want to watch the kids?)
  • If all goes well we could probably pull off grandkids by 2036 and get a midlife crisis 2-seater convertible
  • We'll serve as couple missionaries 2047-2048, after which Cam gets down to business with family history and I make lawn ornaments to sell online
  • Cam will have the nicest garden in town in 2053 after his heart valve replacement
  • In 2058 we'll be dancing the funky chicken at our 50th wedding anniversary. Don't worry, you're invited.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Trunk-or-Treat!

Last night our church had a trunk or treat, essentially an excuse for kids to still get candy because they don't want to go trick-or-treating on Sunday. Adults (including Cam and I) give out candy from the back of our cars, which are often decorated. Ours just happened to be the coolest, no seriously, children told us that:
But that's not all. We made our very own soundtrack of scary animal noises that we had play from the car speaker (with silences in between) so kids wouldn't see it coming. THEN we didn't just give out candy, we made kids reach into the monster's mouth, "The candy is in his mouth, you'll have to reach in if you want it..." (then he would snarl). He he he. Some of the older kids had no problem:
Our favorite though were the small children who just stared at the huge teeth. Sometimes we would pick up a piece and hold it between two of his teeth and the small child would come snatch it and run away.

We didn't have to worry about anyone taking too much candy though... none of the children wanted to reach in twice.
Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Drive Time

I've mentioned before my new job that I love- and the part that I don't love, that is the 45 minute commute. Well, I've actually come to at least tolerate my commute, and I owe this entirely to podcasts and my new ipod smart playlists.

On the way to work I got so sick of all the morning talk shows that I made a smart playlist called "my morning show." It consists of the next three chapters of the Book of Mormon which I got in audio from lds.org. After that,
the rest of the way to work I listen to a podcast called Book of Mormon Round Table Discussions by the BYU department of ancient scripture. Although I was nearly turned off by the fact that their album cover is in papyrus, I've learned some really interesting stuff from their discussions, and it's much easier to be nice to other people in traffic while I'm listening to it. You can get them free on itunes.

On the way home, I have a smart playlist that randomly pulls up one of the following podcasts:

Stuff you missed in history class (thanks for the recommend Lizzy) - a really interesting podcast on historical topics, but done by two really funny girls who are in tune with pop culture, and are very good at making topics relevant.

Freakonomics radio - A well put together podcast by some economists who explore questions like, "what could the educational system learn from pandora radio." Although I don't always agree with his conclusions, it's very thought provoking.

NPR's On the media (thanks Paige) - A behind the scenes look at media, how it effects culture, and other nerdy things that those of us in the media find interesting about ourselves.

If you've never tried podasts, I recommend giving them a shot. They're free, and I found I like them much better than spending my entire commute listing to radio djs and commercials. I also get to learn new things everyday, which pretty much rocks.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Modest Fashion

There is a girl here in portland who is a friend of a friend who I recently learned about and really admire. She is a Christian, a little younger than me, and for the past 5 years has designed and managed her own clothing line of modest fashions. I think it's fantastic how someone so young can accomplish things like this (it makes me question what I've accomplished really). Her designs are absolutely adorable, very vintage-chic.

Anyway, the point of my post: she's decided to peruse other opportunities right now, so she's selling off all the adorable things in her online store. There is some way cute stuff in there, so I thought you would all like to know (And also because the black&white coat I want she only has large left, so I figure if I can't enjoy it, someone should.) For sure don't miss the dresses-I love her descriptions of them (and I would like opinions on the black Lucy Dress).

Also, if you're looking for an interesting read, her blog, musings of an empowered traditionalist is great.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Vegetarian week 2

This was week 2 of our vegetarian experiment. Just like last week it had some more great meals and discoveries including:
  • Mushrooms. I always thought of them as a garnish, but they hold their own too! (apparently 5 mushrooms have more potassium than an orange).
  • Kale. Good for you, but we still haven't discovered a great way to prepare it. We tried baking as chips, but the aftertaste left something to be desired.
Our three favorite meals this week:
  1. Crockpot corn chowder- an old favorite, but with cabbage instead of bacon this week.
  2. Broccoli Cauliflower bake- Yum, and I'm not a huge cauliflower fan.
  3. Golden Mushroom Pasta- with mushrooms substituted for the usual chicken.

Broccoli-Cauliflower Bake

4 cups broccoli florets

3 cups cauliflower florets

1 can cream of mushroom soup

3 oz. cheese

1 tbsp onion

1⁄2 tsp. dried basil, thyme, or marjoram

3⁄4 cup soft bread crumbs

1 tbsp. butter or margarine melted


In large saucepan, cook broccoli and cauliflower in boil- ing water 6-8 minutes or until almost crisp-tender. Drain and remove from pan. In same saucepan combine soup cheese, onion, and seasoning. Cook and stir until bubbly. Stir in the cooked vegetables. Transfer to casserole dish. Combine bread crumbs and butter and sprinkle over mixture. Bake at 375 for 35 minutes or until heated through.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Vegetables are good (for you)

Inspired about 50% by the realization that a tomato and head of lettuce between the two of us should not count as our vegetables for two weeks, and about 50% by a desire to not spend so much of my grocery budget on chicken and ground turkey, Cam and I decided we were going to try being Vegetarian for two weeks.

We're a week in now- and so far it's been fun to try some new things. Here is our menu from the last week:

Sunday:Vegetarian Lasagna- yum! turned out nicely
Monday: Vegetarian Lasagna (it was that good...and big)
Tuesday: Oriental salad
Wednesday: Salisbury Steak (so we're not going cold turkey, so what?)
Thursday: Pasta Salad
Friday:Spinach and cucumber wraps

Things we've learned:
  • You can survive on vegetables
  • I remembered how much I like cucumber
  • Cabbage is actually good for you! Who knew? We both thought it was nutritionally void like iceberg lettuce, but turns out it's ridiculously good for you.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Forest Grove

We decided it's about time you all had the welcome tour to Forest Gro:
Like I've said before, we love how very unconventional things are here. (Yes, the basket is being used as a planter).
We just wanted to share with you a few of our favorite things about Forest Grove, for example, did you know that it is home of the world's largest barbershop pole?
I guess everyone has to be the best at something, right?

It also has lots of fantastic pieces of art. For example, this bronze statue of a man outside the library that makes me jump every time I pass it late at night.
What paper is he so engaged in? None other than the renowned:
(Can you imagine the naming committee? ..Let's call it the 'News' no, the 'Times'...)

We also love the cement plant on our block.
And my favorite house next to the cement plant. Is it just me, or does this 3rd story outside access detached room look like it was once the slave quarters?

Last but not least... When you know you're not great, but you're not that bad either, you should probably be honest about it, right? The Pole is in the way, but this is OK Floral.
Cameron was concerned you would all think we scoured the town for this stuff... It's actually all within about 3 blocks of us.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Don't Shoot your eye out!

...At least not this weekend.

Why?

Because Cameron and every other optometrist in the Western United States will be at an optometry conference. Which makes this a bad weekend to go try out your new Official Red Ryder, carbine action, 200-shoot range model air rifle, because... well, there won't be anyone around to help if an incident occurs.

Try to stay away from those icicles too!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Growing

This weekend, we went to visit my parents and something pretty exciting happened. I'll give you a hint, it's at 2:25-2:35:



No, I didn't have a growth spurt- although I am expecting it any day now. However, if you guessed this:

you were right.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Everyone deserves a chance to fly!

A friend showed me this and I thought it was adorable and sort of inspirational, so I wanted to share:

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Chalk Festival

Today was the annual Forest Grove Sidewalk Chalk Festival! You show up and they give you a box of chalk and a square of the sidewalk in downtown Forest Grove. Despite threatening morning clouds, Cam and I decided we were going to risk it:
Cam got involved too- he did a great job helping with the gradient backgrounds. It started sprinkling, so we pulled out our umbrellas.
Tuh duh! I had other plans for the background, but it was too hard to draw where it was soaked. Just moments after we finished, the rain really started coming.
But it was still fun- here were some of my favorite squares that survived the rain:

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Swift Migration

Last night Cam and I went to go see the one of the nuttiest things I've ever heard of in Portland. The Swift migration at Chapman Elementary. It's this ridiculous phenomenon that happens every year at dusk throughout the month of September. Vaux's Swifts that are migrating south by the hundreds stop overnight at an elementary school in Portand, and spend the night in the chimney, which is oddly enough, the most prominent feature of the school. It also means that each night hundreds of people flock to see them do it.
It's the craziest thing to watch hundreds of them dive in right as it starts to get dark. While we were there, a hawk came out and started chasing some of them- everyone in the crowd boo-d of course, and then by the hundreds the swifts chased him off. It was pretty awesome. My question was: where do they all fit? Because we watched over a thousand just pile in. Apparently they cling to each of the bricks to sleep.

This video doesn't nearly capture the sight of thousands of small birds flocking over your head and then spiraling in until they all disappear... but it'll at least give you an idea of what it looks like:

Sunday, September 5, 2010

A Domestic Adventure

We may not be out traveling the world right now, but leave it to me to find an adventure in our kitchen.

One of my former roommates made a fantastic meal called White Chicken Chili, which Cameron has been begging me to make for quite some time. This week I finally gave in and got the ingredients and today we gave it a shot. It was all well and good- got the chicken done, had the jalapeno chopped and had everything cooking.

While it was cooking I was writing a few things down and, and suddenly my lips started burning. I figured I must have gotten some jalapeno on them and drank some water which helped. A few minutes later, I absent-mindedly wiped my right eye, which started burning instantly. I ran to the bathroom, and took my contact out which made it sting more. I realized that I still had the jalapeno juice on my hands, so my efforts to wash it out were only going to make things worse.

I yelled for Cameron to come help, and after several failed solutions he got a cup for me to tip up to my eye and blink. This helped the burning, but spread the sting around the outside of my eye, from my nose bridge on down. I decided that was bearable, and then washed my hands with baking soda to get rid of the acid, and then with soap.

I went back to my writing, but then decided I should take out my other contact so that I didn't get a headache. Although I had washed my hands, that happened after I had touched this pen I was using, which re-covered them with acid. This eye burned worse than the first one, and I had to get cam to take my contact out since my hands were covered. This time at least we had a procedure.

Both eyes eventually calmed down, and the chili turned out fantastically (I was nervous the jalapeno would make it unbearable, but the cream did a good job of neutralizing). It's delicious, but if you're interested in trying it, I recommend rubber gloves...

White Chicken Chili

2 chicken breasts

1 medium Onion

2 garlic cloves

2,15 oz cans white beans

1 can chicken broth

2, 4 oz cans chopped green chilies

1 tsp salt

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp pepper

¼ tsp cayenne pepper (BAM!)

1 cup sour cream

½ cup whipping cream

1 tbsp chopped jalapeno


Cook chicken breasts in broth and remove. Shred chicken. In large kettle, strain chicken broth, add onion, garlic, beans, chilies, and spices. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered 30 min. Remove from heat, stir in sour cream and whipping cream, enjoy.


Sunday, August 29, 2010

Going out with a bang

Well, this has been a pretty great summer of adventure... but Cam's School starts tomorrow. We decided it was best to go out with one last bang. Cam convinced a guy from the Sierra club to let him review a hike for a book they're updating. It followed some old train tracks out in the Tillamook National Forest 5 miles out through 2 tunnels and over 2 train tressels. The old guide told us to just listen before crossing, and then go quickly since sometimes the tracks are still used. The guide also told us that if we hear shooting, not to worry because we're out of range of the shooting range...but it wouldn't hurt to bring a whistle.

It's a good thing Cam happened to pack his headlamp...
We're pretty hardcore...
We're planning to tell the Sierra Club not to worry... I don't think many trains make it anymore.
But the official best part of the trip was the next morning, Cam was complaining that he hadn't seen any wildlife, not even squirrels. Not a minute later we looked down by the creek near our camp, and a coyote came trotting out of the trees with something in it's mouth... a stick? Nope. It was a deer leg. I think we all went home satisfied, and more than a little sore.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Ten Book Summer

During our first two weeks in New York Kim went to work everyday and when she came home we would go on our adventures. During the day I would look for a job. But after looking for so many hours and putting in so many applications, I would get tried of job hunting. Kim had brought along a copy of The Phantom of the Opera and one afternoon I sat down and read it. I enjoyed reading so much that I went to Goodwill the next day and scoured their shelves for books that I thought would be interesting. I have now finished ten books this summer! I don't pretend to be a literary critic, but this is what I thought of them in a sentence or two:

The Phantom of the Opera - Exciting, full of suspense, and it ends with a beautiful lesson of love and sacrifice. The Broadway show was great as well.

The Bourne Identity - Action thriller with lots of mental stimuli. An entertaining quick read, but not terribly meaningful.

Crime and Punishment - Excruciatingly dark and boring for the first 400 pages with the last 150 making it all totally worth it. It gave great insights into what a crime is and what punishment really is.

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy - A very emotional series that completely engulfed me in a different world. If you are going to read one, you really must read all three. It left me feeling optimistic about the world and the ability of truth and goodness to overcome trial and evil.

Dandelion Wine - Nostalgic. It seemed to distill the essence of youth and happiness and had a power to take me back to when I was growing up even though my experiences were completely different than the ones described in the book. Warning: don't read this book during the Winter, it will only make you wish it was Summer.

Rich Dad, Poor Dad - A motivational book to say the least. It explains the ideals of the wealthy and dares you to live them.

The Tipping Point - Absolutely fascinating and well written! The nearly 300 pages held my attention the entire time as it examined the causes of epidemics from crime and disease to fashion and fads. It will change your perspective of the world.

Brave New World - Most of the book was racy and morally void but it did make a great case for the danger of allowing science to rule society instead of society ruling science. I especially loved the dialog towards the end where "the savage" bears out what true happiness is and chooses it over freedom from pain and misery. Although he goes too far the other direction to almost indulging in suffering.

I would recommend all of these books to you. Actually, I would recommend simply reading books. I have had so many thoughts this summer that I otherwise wouldn't have had. What books do you recommend that I read next.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Fair Day

My camera broke last week while we were moving- it still takes pictures, but the LCD screen doesn’t work, and there’s no viewfinder, so I have no real idea what I’m taking a picture of. I just thought you should know that before we move into this next picture series…

Last week as per tradition, We went to the opening day of the Clark County fair with my family. We took the C-Tran shuttle over there and wandered through the craft booth. We saw Nathan’s first prize winning Lego creations (he was ecstatic).

Then we did rides, well, mostly Nathan did rides and either my dad or Cam went with him. There were four tickets left so my dad told Cam to go find a ride to go on by himself. He chose the Yo-yo (swings). But it wasn’t interesting enough for him, so he started swinging his seat, and actually hit the poor kid behind him which isn’t supposed to be possible. The poor 7-year-old kid kept yelling “quit it!” but once his momentum was going the wrong way, it’s hard to stop you know.

My Yo-yo picture didn't turn out, so I found this online.
Nate and Dad on the ferris wheel.
Nate and Cam being supermen

Last we went to the “jousting tournament” which actually a show, with a pre-determined winner (and they had to stretch for it to because our favorite guy kept beating him at everything). But they still did real jousting, running at each other on horses with lances and everything, a few of them even broke, which was pretty intense. The only part that was fake was their sword fight to the death at the end... because no one actually died, they just disqualified themselves. I suppose I would too given the alternative.