Monday, June 30, 2008

Finally- a bit of camping

This past weekend I finally went camping! It seemed like every time I was hiking in Peru with Heather, I vocalized my need to go camping. I think she was getting sick of my whining, with good reason. Finally I went for a very short camping trip this past weekend. Unfortunately, everyone else but Baby was busy, so we set out for another BandB adventure. I learned a few things as I embarked on my first solo camping trip and wanted to share a few observations with you all.

These are my thoughts broken up into quadrants (Who knew I was so anal?) They are as follows:
My trip brought me to the coastal range where I had two goals: fishing and surfing. I left first thing Saturday morning and battled traffic on highway 26 until Elsie. The plan was to fish at Lost Lake, catch some trout and spend the night at the nearby campground. Well, the campground was completely full, so I improvised. I ended up finding a private spot on the Nehalem River up about 3 miles that was kind of close to other campers (maybe 3/4 of a mile). I could hear nearby campers laughing in the distance, which brought me some comfort. I set up camp and headed up the hill to Lost Lake. The views atop this hill were beautiful!
The road took me straight to the lake where there was parking and a few hike-in camping spots. Had I known there would have been a few families already camped out up there, I would have waited to set up camp and stayed next to the lake. Next time. Baby and I started our hike around the lake and I can honestly say I have never been around so many mosquitoes! Luckily I moved fast enough to avoid being eaten alive. After dropping a line in a few places, I found a good fishing spot. I was using a castmaster and after two casts, had two fish. The first was super small and luckily I was able to free it. The second fish was a 10 inch Rainbow and for some unknown reason- well I know the reason- I was a bit confident and let it go thinking I could get a bigger one. My fish friendly side was telling me that bait fishing would make it easier to release the smaller ones. These fish were not going for the powerbait, so I quickly switched back to the castmaster hoping to hook some dinner. The shadows must have changed and the fish had lost interest. It was getting late and I was tired and hungry. After a few more attempts on my walk around the lake and a quick swim, I gave up on the fish. I also had to give up on my plans for spicy black bean trout burritos. It was a sad moment.
Every time I try to have a nice picture with Baby, she freezes up and stares at me like I'm the worst Mom ever! I think she has some sixth sense that alerts her of the timer option on my camera and as a result, almost every picture we have is of her staring at my cheek. Nice Baby-
Back at camp, I was enjoying myself so much I decided to maybe stay a second night on the river. I enjoyed a VERY relaxing evening with my pb and j, baked sour cream and cheddar lays, campfire, doggy and book. It was great. I also made a friend. Meet Mr. Mosquito! The next morning, I awoke hungry for oatmeal. Had some breakfast and started to read through my dissertation. This was by far the most disappointing part of my trip. I have to turn in my final copy this coming Wednesday and needed to do some editing this weekend. I brought my stuff, but as usual was unable to be productive and immediately started to make myself feel sick with guilt. I decided that my second night would have to be sacrificed if I wanted to surf. So I packed up and was at Surf Sands by noon. The beach was more packed than I had ever seen it, but I braved the crowds, suited up and actually caught quite a few choppy Oregon waves. Peru surfing was great, but I felt like I was back home.
This little trip has only intensified my need to backpack and spend time outdoors. I think Nurse Betty (from my job) and I are off for a trip next weekend and I can hardly wait to get back out there!

Friday, June 27, 2008

World's largest gathering of organic brewers right here in Portland!

Yup! That's what I went to this evening. I felt it was appropriate that I attend this festival because it was an organic brewer here in Portland that turned me onto beer about 6 months ago!

Roots Brewery is responsible for the transformation of my tastebuds that has already saved me a ton of money! I mean seriously, beer is so much cheaper than mixed drinks and wine. Now I actually like it. Especially the yuppie Heather Beer from Roots. The event was an eclectic mix of hippies, cyclists, baby boomers, etc. There were no drunk people, just a lot of relaxing on the cool grass and mingling with other Portlanders.

A few pics.This is a picture of me and my coworker buddies, Sally and Jamie. They are very cool girls who help me maintain my sanity by making me laugh at work. They are both leaving my program and on to nursing school and grad school in the midwest. It is sad, but I am so happy to see them go on to new adventures.


relaxing on the cool grass while listening to live music.....

Good stuff!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

this makes me smile-

My niece is now emailing pictures and videos. It has been said that she resembles me in my younger years, both in physical appearance and personality. I have pasted a few of the brilliant things she has sent me recently, including a video clip that captures the essence of brother/sister relationships. It is difficult to think about how old they are. Christian was born when I was in 9th grade! Again.. where does the time go?

In any case, check out my niece, Megan. She cracks me up.

Megan's email:

Dear aunty beth ; I I am so siked that you are already out of school. My school ends this friday!You are so lucky.Anyway I am reading the sixth Harry Potter.Have you ever gone on Youtube?If you have you will know it's got some funny stuff.Next time you go on Youtube tipe in "Potter Pals'' you will laugh your head off! How are baby and buta doing?Email me back! TTYL


Megan's construction paper family:

I'm so proud of all my nieces and nephews! You guys rock!

Love, Auntie Beth

ps. How old am I? It took me 5 minutes to figure out that TTYL means talk to you later!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

words for thought....

there's another

linkage of lessons
and final exams

that some seem
to view as
unsupervised recess

you ask-
there is more than room;
the need to spill
with purpose,
streams of tender

Today I was working in the day program that I supervise and this book of poems was sitting on the table. I never have been into poetry, mostly because I haven't become comfortable enough with the English language to explore it by writing poems. These poems were taken from The Distant Siren, by James DePreist. He is a famous conductor who currently serves as director for the Oregon Symphony.

I just chose a few of my favorite poems from the book to share. I like poems.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Adventures of Baby and Me

Okay- so maybe the title is a bit over dramatic and grammatically incorrect, but the experience is worth mentioning.

Baby and I had an unplanned stop today on our way home from the Tri-Cities. I had noticed that my 'check gage' light was acting up a bit in Richland, but thought this was the next thing in my dash to go since the RPM light burnt out a while ago. No biggie.... right?

Well, after a few side trips, dirt roads and an hour of going over 70 mph, I exited with anticipation at Blalock Canyon. I figured this would be a fun place to explore/hike/take pictures/etc. When I exited, I looked at the dash and my car had most definitely overheated and the gauge was not capable of going any higher. "How long had it been like this?", "Was it overheating everytime the check gauge light was on?", "Oh my gosh is my engine ruined?"

Well, I decided to pull over and have a look under the hood, since I'm so not familiar with anything engine. I open the hood and my car is gyrating. It sounds a bit like a fan with the protective plastic out of place and you can feel the vibration as the fan uncomfortably rubs against the outer shell. This went on, without any particular pattern for about 15 minutes. I was kind of freaking out, but figured I could handle this. Goal #1: Chill out. So I took it upon myself to get water for Baby, look for a non-existent granola bar, take pictures of myself with my timer option, smell the sage brush on my fingers, gather empty Starbucks cups in my car for disposal.... I kept as busy as possible. Baby waited patiently.

After the noises stopped, I sat there for an additional 30 minutes. I then remembered how I handled this problem with my last Ford SUV(The Bronco II Rocks!...I see a pattern here!). I drove 45 miles to the Dalles with my heat on high. The engine was at about 90% of it's heat capacity and my body was at about 150%. It was ridiculous. But we made it. We found an oil change place that topped off my fluids and also changed my broken thermostat. All fixed. The Explorer will live to see another day.

They are dropping like flies!

Congratulations Sara and Trevor! Mr. And Mrs. Smith became husband and wife on June 21, 2008, despite the freak thunderstorm that moved the ceremony inside. It was still beautiful and the bride was STUNNING!!
Are you ready to see a picture of the best wedding cake I have ever had? Look below-
In this particular picture the aesthetic qualities are not great. However, this cake in my mouth was heaven. Moist, melt in your mouth, perfect amount of frosting sweetness good. Loved it!
Happy Pic with a happy friend and an even happier bride! Love you SARA!
I also was very fortunate to have an invitation to stay at Sara and Trevor's place. This meant I was allowed to spend time with their family... of loving animals. Two dogs, two cats. This little black and white puppy is a new addition. He was found wandering the halls of Sara's High school(she is a teacher) and somehow 'Moo' ended up at their house and is now happily bugging his big brother 'Powder'.
The following picture is of Powder and me on the couch. Honestly, I love Baby to death, but her skittish qualities do not make her the best snugglebug. This full grown Corgi let me snuggle with him and it was great (as you can see on my face).
To Sara and Trevor: Thank you for sharing your home, pets and special day with me. I can't wait to see how your family continues to grow, and I'm not talking about Moo! See you soon for camping in Oregon!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

what's gotten into me?

Not really sure why, but lately I feel like I have been stopping to smell the roses.... often. I don't know if it is because the summer air is finally here, or if it is because I just returned from the most amazing trip ever? Maybe it's the books I'm reading for fun, or it is maybe because I don't have the huge weight of my dissertation on my shoulders? I can't pinpoint it, I just know that I am really enjoying it. I feel compelled to bring my camera EVERYWHERE. I'm taking pictures while I'm driving 70 mph.... (see below). I'm taking pictures when I'm laying in a field..... (see further below).... and totally loving it. The pictures are nothing special, but when I take them I feel this rush of life. Can't explain it. Actually, maybe I can. You know when you are so busy feeling things? really feeling them with your senses.. smell, visual, touch? My senses are ultra sensitive lately. Maybe it's the motorcycle? I guess I'll stop thinking about it and enjoy it while I can. So glad summer is here.
Carpe Diem!

Round 8- Last PERU BLOG! I promise!

Hurry up and finish with these posts already!!! My Goodness!

Okay, just a few more things to mention about our trip..... After leaving Mancora(which was extremely difficult), we headed back to Piura for what we thought would be a boring, dry, dusty old town. We were so wrong. We found a nice, clean, affordable hotel fairly easily. Dropped off our stuff and ended up getting manicures and pedicures for about $5 a person. It was great. Then off to shop and see Indiana Jones. Not sure who saw this movie, and I don't want to ruin anything so look away if you don't want the details, but the movie was in Peru! Cuzco and Iquitos, which were the first two travel destinations on our trip. It was very cool to see Peru on the big screen in Peru! After that, we had some Bembo's( I will talk about that in a future food from Peru blog) and went back to the hotel for a comfortable nights rest.

Piura centre plaza
The next morning, (early around 5am morning) we headed to the airport, caught our flight to Lima, checked or bags in a locker and spent the day walking around Lima before our red eye back to the states. From the airport we caught one of the scariest cab rides I have ever had, and made it to the coastal area, which was much nicer than the inner city slums.

This touristy area was very cool because it was perched on these huge cliffs! We had a great meal on the cliff restaurant and watched the surfers from above. Very relaxing. We spent the rest of the day walking around and shopping for souvenirs. We were exhausted, but ready to fall asleep on the plane.
This picture was from the Atlanta airport. We were back and getting on different planes, Heather to LA then PDX and me to SEATTLE.
It was an amazing trip. Not much else to say.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day DADS!!!

Today was father's day and unfortunately I had no contact with other fathers in the family except for a phone call to my DAD. This year was my first year without a grandpa. Grandpa Mel passed away this past year and I just realized how lucky I have been to have my grandpas in my life for as long as I did. I couldn't pass up this opportunity to post pics of my own DAD and the other Dad's in the family. This first picture was my first experience swimming in Puget Sound. Not sure how many of you have taken the plunge, but is really really cold. My face shows the chill that was overcoming my body. I think Dad was trying to keep as much of my body out of the water, but really I was just pushing him down. Good times. I loved our boat times.
This was the last pic of all the Chamberlin men, (well almost all-the two on the right are Phillips) before Grandpa Cliff passed away. From left to right: my Dad, Cousin, Uncle, Grandpa, Brother, Brother-in-law and Christian when he was just a wee little lad. He turned 15 yesterday! Where does the time go? I had to post a picture of my Grandpa Mel too. This was us at my high school graduation. That was what, 27 years ago? At least it feels that way. He was such a great guy!
Lastly, the fine picture above was my Dad's daily work attire. No, not really. This was his interpretation of miss piggy for Halloween one year. I'm pretty sure I was mortified. So mortified that I must have cut my own bangs that short.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Round 7 Mancora- part 2

The Playa Bonita had a GREAT restaurant and we had our own waiter/butler named Vincent or Vincente. We ate several meals on the sundeck with our friends Becca and Jeff for basically pennies compared to food at home. We were also spoiled because a massage therapist came to our hotel on two occasions and gave us all cheap 1 hour massages. My first one was on the beach under the warm sun. It was incredible!
Heather gave me this cute card on my birthday with a little 'perfect' growing man. You know, one of those 'for the handsome man of your dreams - just add water'. We made an activity of it and after I gave him a little good luck kiss, I threw him into the pool.
Unfortunately, it was a slow growth process and I will have to wait patiently. I don't know how much patience I have left.
Becca and Jeff playing in the surf. So this was my first time surfing without a wetsuit. It was great, but I guess I understand why rashguards are useful if you aren't using a wetsuit. I had, and actually still have, a rash on my stomach. After spending hours out in the surf, I found a new use for my chapstick. Sounds strange, but it felt so good! I'm still fishing pieces of sand out of that particular chapstick. he he. Heather got some serious boogie boarding in! I figure a sunset picture is the best way to wrap up Mancora. There really are no words for how relaxed I was able to get being there. It was hard to leave, but I was so glad I went. Till next time....

Round 6 Mancora- part 1

We left our Amazon Jungle and flew to Piura, Peru. From Piura we knew we had to take a taxi to Mancora. The bus situation was also an option, but would take a few hours longer and the comfort level would be questionable. We were mostly in a hurry to get to the sandy beaches so we could start the, "I'm thinking and doing absolutely nothing since I'm laying on the beach" phase of our trip. Serendipitously, there was this nice young man in the airport who looked very American. I asked him if he was going to Mancora and to my delight he said "yes!". We ended up sharing a two hour taxi ride with him and his girlfriend, Becca. This meant our 400 Sole ($120) ride would be divided into four. Great!! So we rode in a newer economy Toyota, which felt like a limo, and definitely doesn't corner on rails. Our Driver was a bit scary, but we survived. He recommended a place for us to stay. This is always shady because they get a cut for directing us to certain places. We went along with it, telling him we wanted a ride into the city if we weren't satisfied. Well. We got there and bargained down to $25 per person per night. Heather and I knew that we would be staying here at least one night and then heading into town closer to the action. These pics are from our first night in Playa Bonita. It was heaven.
We were greeted with Pisco Sours (the famous Peruvian drink) and started immediately relaxing and enjoying our surroundings.

Sunset that evening, the first of many.

The next morning, Heather and I were eager to head to the center of town. We decided to pack up and check out a few of the recommended hotels from our Lonely Planet that were right in front of the surf break and near all the restaurants and bars. We walked around with our packs and were eager to check-in somewhere and get in the water. After all, it was at least 85 degrees and we were hot!

Turns out our time in Playa Bonita set us up for real disappointment. We ended up staying one night in the following room. This was the only open room in the area and we weren't happy about it, but determined to make the best of it. We dropped our stuff and went to the beach for surfing and sunning.

As you can see in the picture above, this place was icky! Under different circumstances or in other cities, this would have been more acceptable. BUT- We were paying $20 per night per person to say in this s-hole! This was only $5 less than our beloved Playa Bonita. Before dinner we were resting in our beds and I kind of found a ton of ants in bed with me. I know I'm laughing now, but at the time it was not a good situation. We ended up getting new sheets and burning an insect coil to hopefully ward off any visiting critters. We went to bed (I didn't really sleep) with the agreement that we were headed right back to Playa Bonita with the hopes that they would give us the same cheap deal. They did and we started our vacation. again....

We still mototaxied into town for activity, but spent a lot of time with our new friends Becca and Jeff. They were from Manhattan and South Carolina and were on their own Peruvian excursion. They were very happy to have English speaking company, as were we.

We had a fishing adventure one day. It was a bit of a mess, but we eventually ended up on a fishing boat where we caught all kinds of sea creatures. Wasn't exactly the deep-sea fishing we thought would produce our dinner, but was a fun adventure anyways.
My Big Catch!

Back to Mancora via Mototaxi!
Too much for one post. More soon on Mancora.