Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tierra de Madre

Earth day was last week. I meant to post sooner, but I have just been too busy with work and dealing with my shortened sleep schedule. It really hit me yesterday that my neighbors 3am-4am romp session the night before made my day very long. The last month living below them has contributed to a deep state of exhaustion that I haven't felt since I wrote my dissertation last year. I did get some rejuvenating sleep last night and am feeling much better today. YAY! 

That said, I have also been dragging my feet with blogging about what 'Earth Day' has meant to me this year. It seems like in years past, it has been about respecting the precious resources, land and air that Mother Earth allows us to use.
While I am thankful for the planet's tangible offerings that allow us to live the way we do, I haven't been able to stop thinking about what it means to be alive on the planet earth. The Planet is amazing, and even more amazing to me is what it means to feel alive and recognizing that feeling when it hits you. (I know I'm kind of out there right now.. I do that often)

I also started to wonder about experiencing what it means to be alive not only on our planet, but also in the universe. It all started when I saw this link on yahoo. The link reported on an earth-like planet that has been studied in a faraway universe. This planet orbits around a large star. It is 2 times the size of earth and has a rocky surface mostly covered by water. Like Earth, it has similar traits that are ideal for life: water, land, atmosphere, and a mild temperature range. We don't have the technology to detect whether or not life exists on this planet as of yet, but maybe in the future we will. I have seen these headlines before, but this time I couldn't stop thinking about what this meant. My first thought was, "My God the Mormons must be stoked!". I used to date Mormon and at the young age of 17 he told me that he needed to lead a righteous life so he and his future wife could be the God and Goddess of their own earth-like planet. Deep thoughts for a 17 year old brain. I attribute my skepticism for any one religion to my relationship with him. 

I also honestly believe that our human brains are not capable of thinking about these extremely unknown topics for too long without serious conditioning or overheating, so I will get back to my point. My point is that Earth Day for me has been about how fortunate I have felt to be a part of such a large ecosystem, allowing me to live and feel some of the wonderful sensations and emotions that make us human. I don't think I'm articulating my feelings very well, so I will use pictures to explain my point.

Picture #1. Babies. Holding Baby Will for the first time. I haven't had my own baby yet, but holding a tiny human that just exited a human body just seems like the greatest miracle of all. I wish I had the pic of me holding Christian for the first time. I had the same look of wonder and amazement. He was such a cutie too!
Picture #2. Adrenaline. Or purposefully jumping out of a plane. Hands down the most physically intense sensory experience I have ever had. So intense that if I did it by myself, I'm not sure I could concentrate enough to pull the cord! Hence my two tandem jumps. Would do it again right now if I had the cash flow!
Picture #3.  Campfires. Usually if I'm sitting around a campfire, I'm removed from material life. Don't get me wrong, I love my MacBook and my Ipod, but there is something humbling about being disconnected from civilization and sharing the environment with animals, trees, moving water, mountains and bugs. 
Picture #4. Family and Friends. What would life be without loved ones? I love my 'me time', but family and friends bring happiness into my life. This picture speaks for itself. I had surprised one of my best friends Jessica by flying out to the East Coast to surprise her for her Wedding shower and Bachelorette party. I think it was the best surprise I have been a part of yet. Looking forward to many more of these moments.
Picture #5. Danger. Jumping into the Amazon River with Piranhas is fun. The locals didn't seem to be worried about the scary fish, so Heather and I decided to do what the locals did. Turns out, the Amazon River is a great way to cool off instantly. No bites either!
I can look at these pics over and over and feel the same sensation I had when that moment actually happened. When I'm not sure about the universe, or my current work situation, or any uncontrollable circumstances, I can find comfort in the fact that these experiences are my reality. I really do feel lucky to recognize and enjoy it while I'm here on Mama Earth! 

Oh yeah. Everybody should recycle, protect our oceans, not litter, keep our sewers and rivers clean, ride bicycles instead of driving, garden and compost in their backyard, and be nice to one another. After all, It was earth day.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

apartment life

Please be forewarned.... this posting is not G-rated. I don't usually blog about such vulgar topics, but I'm REALLY annoyed.

I have lived in my little studio apartment for almost two years. It has served it's purpose and now I'm ready to move out. In fact I have been over living in all four-hundred and eighty-four square feet for over a year now. 

About one month ago, my living situation got much worse. I have had three different upstairs neighbors and they have all been pretty quiet with a few exceptions. The most recent neighbors have had one weeknight party, but I can deal with that. What I can not deal with is their daily fornication sessions. I hate to put it bluntly, but there is no other way to say that these people have sex for 3 hours a day!! Two hours every night (usually from 9 - 11pm) and again for an hour in the morning (strangely always starting at 6:38am). Don't get me wrong, I'm happy for people with healthy sexual appetites, but this whole situation is just too close to home. The walls in this apartment are not thick, so I hear everything.... and I mean everything! I now wear ear plugs, which are great unless I'm trying to watch television or hear the alarm in the morning. The worst part.... brace yourselves..... their physical activity actually shakes my apartment. I just lay here on the bed shaking 'with' them. GROSS!!! My cat and dog join me on the bed, but usually spend several minutes staring at the ceiling. 

So what have I done about it? I'm not much for confrontation, and it is especially worse when it pertains to someone else's sex life. I did however mention it to the apartment gal when she asked why I was thinking of 'not' renewing my lease.  She then asked me if there were two people living in the apartment and that was when I said, "well yeah.. they have sex everyday for 3 hours". I guess only one person is allowed to live in the studio, so I inadvertently tattled, which I am not a fan of. But then I have to tell myself that they are having screaming, rip-roaring, sex ALL THE TIME and they have to know they are loud and living in a building with shared walls.  

I'm pretty sure they were given a letter or a phone call regarding the 'situation'. This evening as I was leaving to hang out with friends, they were sitting in their car in front of my door staring at me. It was awkward. They looked like they were angry about something and the fact that they continued to stare at me as I walked away with the dog made me think they knew I was the one that spilled the beans. So I went about my business. 

I came home this evening. All was quiet and I was excited to fall right asleep. Logged on to check my email and before I could log off, the noises and shaking started. I don't think they were going at it before I got home, but they are right now and have been for about 47 minutes... screaming and all. I'M SO OVER IT!

Okay... Not sure if I needed to share this story, but it is an annoyance that is not going away. 

Oh how I want a full-time job so I can buy a house and be free from others 'activities'!
Oh and one more thing... she is totally faking it.

Time for bed. Ear plugs in.
Peace out. 

Sunday, April 19, 2009

a weekend in the woods

I just got home from a fantastic weekend in the woods. It was Julie's B-I-G 4-0 and her family treated her to a cabin in the woods for the weekend. I was a very lucky girl to get the invite! The cabin itself was right on the river and rush of the water made for the best background noise ever! I only wish I could attach the fresh smell of spring to these pictures!

I was VERY happy to get a healthy dose of Vitamin D!
The cabin was full of eclectic collectibles and family effects that kept my camera very busy. Above is a picture of Betty posing as the 'jackelope'.
Here is the Birthday Girl! If you look in the bottom right hand corner of the photo, you can see how close the water was to the back deck of the cabin. It was dreamy!
I was tending to the wood stove. There was also a roaring fireplace, giving the cabin a super cozy feel.
Angela and Julie are actually sitting on a foot bridge that was suspended above the living room. The pictures do not do this cabin justice.
Julie right before her Birthday dinner!
Coconut Cake! Uhm...  Yummy!
A night time picture from outside. I need a tripod so I can take more of these. I actually placed the camera on top of the hot tub to get this still shot.
I love this photo. Betty was drifting in and out of consciousness in front of the fire. 
The cozy fireplace...
There was a picture on the mantle of one of the original builders of the cabin- back in the day. The cabin itself is a registered historical cabin in the area. 
a view over the footbridge into the room where I slept.
Today we hiked around Trillium Lake. It was so warm and the views- amazing....
The ladies refueling with meat and cheese.
I couldn't resist. I had to take a picture of Mama Hood in Betty's sunglasses.
Posing for a pic...
I finally made it up to Timberline lodge on the way home! Usually I am snowboarding and too tired to make the drive up to this ski resort (my pass is for Mt. Hood Meadows not Timberline). The lodge was truly amazing. 
This was a painting of the man that worked hard over several decades to restore the lodge to what it is today. There is a story behind the dog too, but I'm too tired to research that tonight. 

The lodge was beautiful, but the terrain at Meadows is much better. What did catch my attention was all the climbers who were starting their trip up to the top of Mama Hood from the lodge. I'm VERY intrigued by the idea that you can climb to the tippy top of the mountain and snowboard down. Sounds heavenly... I think I just found a new goal.

Much Thanks to Miss J for including me in her b-day extravaganza. It was a blast! That's enough for now. It is sleepy time.

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Bone and I

I had my picture with Coach Bone... Yes, his name is really Coach Bone!
I was supposed to have my picture with Coach Bennett....the extremely attractive man pictured above! Unfortunately for the Cougs, Mr. Bennett fled to Virginia, where he will be making ridiculous amounts of money. Our loss. Although I can say after meeting Coach Bone, he is a stand up guy who knows that he has big shoes to fill. He'll be leaving Portland State for the Palouse. He said he was excited, but that his teenage daughters were less than enthused. 

I found out about this Cougar social because my Wazzu-crazed father emailed me with the details. Thanks Dad!

We had super-discounted Blazer tickets to see the a cougar basketball alum, Mr. Kyle Weaver play for Oklahoma. The irony from this evening was overwhelming. I went to see Bennett. He left and so I rubbed shoulders with Coach Bone. Coach Bone is a local B-Ball Coach moving to Pullman. Kyle Weaver was the motivation for the entire event, because Bennett originally was going to see him play. Kyle also plays for a team that once called Seattle home. RIP Sonics..... And to top it all off, this was the second to last game of the Blazers season and they are playing better than ever!! They won last night (their last game) and are entering the playoffs with a 4th place seed into the tourney! WOO HOO! 
Karen and I go way back! Kentwood High school chums, Regents Hall Staff, Portland chums and now she even lives in the same house I used to!  Nuts eh?
This is her friend Jamie and I'm sure it is hard to believe that these two long-time friends are like brother and sister!

Thanks K and J for a fun night! Go Blazers! and of course GO COUGS!!!!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Sunday

Easter Sunday started out with breakfast with my Mom and my Grandma. My Grandma Junette is 90 years old! She looks great!Grandma and Mom outside the restaurant.After breakfast I found my way to my Brother's house for some fun with Mathew and Will.Poor Mathew has been battling a viral illness lately and was pretty tired today. Before his nap, we had some quality snuggle time. I love this little guy!
Will and I had plenty of time to play with swords, chase each other around the house, and ride quads outside.  I was exhausted and I think he depleted about 1/16 of his energy reserves for the day. 
This picture was pretty cool. Dave and Will built a ramp and Will is now 'catching air'! And so it begins.....
We played with these foam swords for a long-time. I had so much fun hanging with the boys!

Now I'm hanging with Mom and trying to force myself to drive back to Portland! It has been a great Easter Sunday!

Rita and Jason

Rita and Jason were officially married in Mexico last month. Last night they had a small reception for friends and family at the Bathhouse Gardens on the waterfront in North Seattle.
A picture of Rita, Jason and Andrew (Jason's and now Rita's son!) in Mexico shortly after they tied the knot.Rita and Jason celebrating with a 'dip' during their first dance.Reception decor...
There were so many cuties running around! Rita and I- She looked GORGEOUS!There were a few guys working on their tightrope skills right outside the bathhouse. They were very amusing to watch and photograph.
Later in the evening the shenanigans officially started with our interpretation of Charlie's Angels.
Laurel taking her turn at the keg.
There were several of us that helped set up and break down the event. At the end of the night, I opted for my brand new hiking boots instead of running around in my heels. I am IN LOVE with my new boots and had to test them out by walking up a support beam. Silly- I know!
Rita's Mother and her brother-in-law posing for an end of the night picture.
And Rita with Taylor and Jordan. 

It was a great night! Rita was a beautiful bride and she married a fantastic fellow! Much love to Rita, Jason and Andrew!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Loving the lentils!

I have been loving the lentils lately! I have a few friends that regularly prepare delicious lentils dishes (Erica and Ruby) and I decided I needed to experiment!  I couldn't find the right Middle-Eastern spices in the Winco Bulk bins, so I decided to use up what was left in my kitchen. My creation doesn't look very appetizing, but ended up tasting pretty darn good! Apparently Buddha was so tempted he had to get a smell for himself (notice him in the bottom left hand corner of the following pic). 
He is such a trouble maker!
and the recipe:

2 Tbl of olive oil
4 Leeks diced
5 garlic cloves diced
2 red peppers chopped
1 1/2 cups of rinsed uncooked lentils (I used red this time)
9 or 10 cups of low sodium chicken broth
Salt and pepper to taste
Feta cheese as a garnish

I sauteed the first 3 ingredients in the olive oil until soft. Then added the lentils and chicken broth, brought to a boil, then simmered for about 45 minutes, or until the lentils were tender. Then simply salt and pepper to taste and add some feta if you prefer. This dish is super filling. I know I like it because I already finished my leftovers! Yummy!