Love at first sight

I have fallen in love with a pair of shoes.  They’re the ultimate Disney princess shoes, and my heart aches for them.

I saw them on Tom & Lorenzo’s site, and for the first time in my life I was compelled to go to the designer’s website to see more.  If it’s possible to fall further in love, I did when I saw them in midnight blue.

They’re calling out my name.  “Buy me, Zannah!  We’ll be so happy together!”  I don’t have anywhere to wear them or anything to wear them with, but those are tiny details.  Are they comfortable?  Who cares?  (Okay, I do, but let’s put that aside.)  Do they come in narrow?  Probably not.  Are they more than I pay in rent?  …..Yes.  Yes, they are more than I pay in rent.

Drat.

I love them, I do, but the don’t-buy-them factors are adding up and the practical side of me says I don’t get to be a princess in $2150 shoes that don’t go with anything I own, that probably aren’t comfortable, that probably won’t actually fit, and will sit in my closet unworn because I don’t have any occasions to wear them.

I will have to find some other kind of princess to be.  Like this one.

But oh, those shoes.

Feels like a dream

Let me tell you the story of our hike last Saturday.  “Story”, since it’s not like anything eventful happened.  Mostly I want an excuse to show you pictures.  Oh, that reminds me – I want to preface all these pictures with something.  Every picture and video posted here was taken by me on my phone’s camera.  I have the resolution cranked all the way up, and for the still photos, I have HDR turned on.  I don’t edit my photos, and I don’t use filters.  (This is not a vanity or ego thing – I don’t have the patience or desire to spend that much time on my pictures.)

Anyway, I wanted a hike with waterfalls, but I didn’t want to drive all the way across the state to see the famous ones, like Multnomah Falls (two and a half hours away) or Klamath Falls (three hours away).  Luckily for us, the Mackenzie River has a trail called the Waterfalls Loop Trail, and it starts less than 90 away from us.

We started at the Carmen Reservoir.  The day was perfect.

The river was so clear it looked it looked chlorinated, and the water was so cold that the air on the banks felt like air conditioning.  Everything smelled fresh and clean and clear and that reminds me of something I forgot to mention about our redwoods hike.  That national park smelled SO GOOD.  Margaret, wonder that she is, explained that the park has a lot of bay trees, and surprise surprise, they smell like bay leaves, and it was so freakin’ pleasant (and I am so glad we had Margaret to tell us that because otherwise I would not have been able to explain why it smelled so good).  This forest did not smell like bay leaves, but it smelled like fresh, clean air, and it was so nice.

The path was clear and well-maintained (and by the waterfalls, it had big log railings that reminded John of Busch Gardens in Williamsburg), and the forest was beautiful.

And then we rounded the corner and saw the first of two waterfalls.  (I think it was Koosah Falls.)

It was loud, of course, but I could have watched it for hours.

Speaking of well-maintained trails, I’m always tickled to find stairs in the woods.  These were on the way up the river, past the first waterfall to the second (and the top of the loop).

So then we came to the second waterfall.  Look at all that green!  I can’t get over how nearly neon it was.

Then of course we asked someone to take our picture.  Not great, but whatever.

So we climbed to the top of that waterfall and kept following the trail, but when it was time loop back, we weren’t ready.  There was another path that was supposed to lead to Clear Lake (never heard of it, but it sounded promising), so we figured we’d follow that for a little bit.

It led us here.  We weren’t impressed.

We were going to turn back, but another hiker came by and pointed out that the trail continued on the other side of the road.  That was awfully nice of her because that’s how we found the Lake of Shining Waters Clear Lake.

It had a cool bridge going across the river.

We walked a little and turned around pretty quickly, but when we got back to the bridge, it had been overrun by tweens from sleepaway camp.  There were at least 20 of them, daring each other to jump off the bridge, their camp counselors egging them on.  I got video.

After that, we headed back to the waterfalls loop to go down the other side.  We found where the trolls live.

And then as we got to the top of that upper waterfall, we climbed down from the actual trail to get closer to the water and I found my new favorite spot in the whole world.

That’s where the water plunges down, that horizontal line of frothy water with trees above it (beyond it).  My toes were an inch from the waterline on the bank.

I crouched down under a tree to get the water rushing over rocks inches away.

Shifting my focus upstream, look at how clear it is and then how cold it looks.

And then there was this spot, where I could sit up against a tree with the water rushing by below and the dropoff 30 feet ahead.

We stopped here for a while.

And, well, John was hot, so he tested the temperature.

We did eventually head back down the trail, and we found ALL the rainbows at the first waterfall.

This next picture is why I mentioned all that stuff about not editing and not using filters.  I have done nothing to this picture to make it look like this.

It’s my favorite.  Occasionally I get lucky.  And that day, I was very happy to be on that trail.

Holiday randomosity

On my bike ride today, I passed a guy going the other direction.  He was on roller blades.  He was wearing tiny speedo-like shorts with an American flag pattern, no shirt, suspenders, and a bow tie.  And a helmet because safety is important.

Happy 4th of July from Eugene!

Also, have some roses from our garden, just because.

The Netherlands have got nothing on Seattle

We’re home and back on wifi, but I don’t have the energy to give you the details of our trip tonight.  However, I will deliver pictures of the belated Mother’s Day tulips* that FILLED the market this weekend.

*I typed “tupils”.  I need to remember that.  Speaking of tupils, there’s a farm in Oregon that has a festival every year, but we missed it.  Christina invited me to go the last weekend, but I already had plans.  Sad me.

The lovers, the dreamers, and me

It started to rain in the middle of my run today, but the sun kept shining, and I looked to my left to see the BEST double rainbow.

I stopped to watch until it started to fade away.  Would have been perfect if the interstate wasn’t rumbling immediately to my left.  I need to find the time to get away from civilization sometimes.

Crater Lake is SO freakin’ BLUE

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I usually get annoyed when I skip a day on the ol’ blog here, but I can’t be mad about skipping yesterday.  I didn’t plan to skip – I thought I’d be back home in time to get it done – but it was late because we were out having adventures and doing fun things and taking LOTS of pictures.  I can forgive myself for that.

None of the pictures you’re about to see have been edited, mostly because I don’t really know how to do that, and I’m too lazy to bother with it.  The signs all over Crater Lake National Park say that the water is so blue because it’s all rain and snowmelt and because it’s the deepest freshwater lake in the country. It was incredible.  I didn’t want to look away.  Of course, I did look away because who would believe we were there if we didn’t take pictures?  I love being a tourist.

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I can’t help but like this one, even though we could be ANYwhere since you can’t really see the lake.

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It was hard to leave, even after our hike.  Oh yes – we hiked.  In our infinite wisdom, we chose one of the strenuous hikes, meant to take 2-3 hours and gain over 1000 feet in elevation.  In our defense, there were only two hiking trails within walking distance of where we parked, and the other one was easy and seemed to follow the road we’d just driven down.  BOR-ing.

If you squint, you can see the Crater Lake Lodge in the upper center part of this picture, which is where we started.  I think we were about halfway when I took this one.

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The temperature was in the 70s, and we were working hard, so we were plenty warm, but there was SNOW on the ground.  Not everywhere, certainly, but we had to climb through a slippery melting snowbank to get to the top.  That was the scariest part.  Well, coming back down through the snowbank was the scariest part.

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We did reach the top, though.  Here we are on Garfield Peak, 8000 feet above sea level.  I don’t know how many feet we were above lake level.

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And here’s another terrible selfie (it was really bright out, okay?).

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I think I might have to make that one my profile picture for ALL of my accounts.

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John wants to run down this meadow.  I’m willing to bet it’s steeper than it looks.

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I think I took this next one on the way back down.

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Here we are, tired and happy and soon to be very hungry.

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We left about 6pm (we got there around after noon, close to 1, I think), but it’s 2 and a half hours away, so it was nearly 9 before we got back to Cottage Grove, and after 9 before we ate.  Almost midnight when we got home, still had to shower (covered in sweat and sunscreen – totally gross), and we’re only a little bit sore today.  Our gym has a hot tub.  We may be heading there this afternoon.

Our Big Day Out: A Photo Essay

We did make it to the coast, and we did have a wonderfully pleasant day, and with the sun out, temps in the mid-60s felt great.

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We did what usually works out for us: hit the road with a general destination (or at least direction) in mind, and then just see what we see.  You know?  It worked out pretty well.  Our first stop was at the Sea Lion Cave, a place we didn’t know even existed until we noticed it on our handy road atlas.  (Our cell service was pretty much non-existent all day, so we relied on good old-fashioned maps.)

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Apparently, this is where the Stellar sea lions live.  Off to one side was a path to the elevator that takes you down 20 stories to the actual cave (fall and winter home of the sea lions).  Way over in the distance is the Heceta Lighthouse.  We’ll visit that some other trip.

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A similar path in the other direction took us to the lookout where we could see the rocks where about 150 sea lions were sunning or playing in the surf.

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It’s breeding season, and the male sea lions were shouting about it.  Lots of roaring.  They’re a noisy bunch.

We headed further north after that, stopping in Newport for a late lunch and a little browsing.  Newport has a pretty harbor, but it’s a working port and the harborside factories or whatever where they deal with the raw fish and crabs smelled AWFUL.

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Looks nice, smells bad.  But they had a friendly California sea lion willing to pose for his fans.

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After that, we found a mostly empty beach and read for about 3 hours.

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Sunset sent us home.

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Rose garden with actual roses this time

There’s this really nice house I see on my bike ride with a really nice backyard.  The back is all tall wrought-iron fence, and there are rose bushes blooming along the top of the fence every few feet.  Pretty.  The other day I noticed that the yard between the patio and the fence was all dirt, and I briefly wondered what they were going to plant there.  Today as I rode by, I noticed it looked different, but I was a couple minutes past it before I figured out what it was.  (I’m very observant.)  Sod!  They sodded the whole thing.  Maybe it didn’t register because it was still flat?  Very green, very nice.  I might not have noticed at all, or it wouldn’t stuck in my head, except that our yard has fresh sod (fresh from March, I think), and you can still see the edges of each piece.  I wonder how long it takes for it to all mesh together?

Now, have some pretty.

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Violence is in my future, I can feel it

I have been forced out of my comfort zone, largely because I don’t HAVE a comfort zone right now, and it is a good and wonderful thing.  I got up this morning (early this morning) to get online before one of my big weekly meetings, and I found that I couldn’t get online on my work laptop. My personal laptop was fine, my phones were fine (I almost typed “phine”), John’s computer was fine.  My work laptop was good yesterday.  Why not today?  It has something to do with Comcast, and I’m going to have to call them, but I didn’t have time right then (meeting starting).  And because of the meeting, I couldn’t dash out to Starbucks for more reliable internet.

I got through the meeting, but I was SO frustrated and wound up.  And THEN we heard from the moving company, who said the truck will be here between 2 and 5pm on Tuesday, which is the latest time possible within the window they gave us.  I’m SO glad we rushed across the country.  That added anger to my frustration (and I sent them an email that hasn’t been replied to yet), and THEN I remembered my air card.  That’s the solution to my work internet problem, and I feel like an idiot for not thinking of it sooner.  I still didn’t want to work another day in the house without furniture (First two days: sore butt from sitting on the floor.  Third day: sore legs from standing at the kitchen counter all day.) and it was still too early for the library to be open, so I packed up my air card and my laptop and headed to the 5th Street Public Market area, just a few blocks away.

It’s a beautiful sunny day, right around 60 degrees, the people at the breakfast place make a really good decaf Americano, and I’m sitting out in the courtyard looking down over a splashing fountain with a chicken on it.  I haven’t figured out the significance of the chicken yet.  I can work here, and I can breathe again.

But I really want my stuff!

There are no chickens in this picture. Sorry.

There are no chickens in this picture. Sorry.

Thank heaven for pretty days

Happy January 2nd!  That’s easy to say when this is your view:

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I swear that picture doesn’t look blurry on my phone…but you get the idea.  I’ve been listening to Welcome to Night Vale podcasts on my phone while running lately, partly so I can stop and take pictures.  I took this one from the top of the Naval Academy Bridge.  The middle of the bridge is a mile and a half from our apartment.

It’s pretty here.

Annapolis Boat Show

Apparently (or at least according to their web site), the Annapolis Boat Shows are the largest (and oldest!) in-water boat shows in the country.  So….that’s cool, I guess?  We’re not boat people, but we like boats just fine.  One weekend was the sailboat show, and the next weekend was the power boat show, and we figured we’re slightly more interested in sailboats, so if we were going to go to one of them, it would be the sailboat show.  And really, we’re probably never going to live in Annapolis again, so it would be silly not to go while we’re here.  We gathered up Molly (Welcome to Annapolis, Molly!  Let’s go look at boats!) and Jess and spent a couple of hours wandering the floating docks, exploring boats, and trying to imagine what it would be like to live on one (or at least go to sea for a while on one).  The short answer is that not one of us would be happy living on a boat.  Molly would get seasick, Jess just doesn’t like boats, I don’t want to spend that much time on the water, and John wouldn’t fit comfortably (not even on the big ones).

Here’s what I learned:

  1. The nets that go across the front of the catamarans are awfully comfortable.
  2. I would be perfectly happy with a floating dock.  I don’t need a boat.  The rocking motion of a floating dock is all I need.

The biggest downside to having the boat show in town for two weeks was that we couldn’t get to the docks at all (without buying a ticket).  There was a big fence around the whole area, covered with ads and posters, and you couldn’t see the water at all.  Monday was the first day it was all gone, and it’s such a relief.  It’s hardly a big open area, but the fence and all the boats made it seem so claustrophobic.  It’s easier to breathe now that they’re gone.

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Our day at the boat show was a beautiful day, though.

What am I going to do when winter comes?

It rained all day on Saturday (seriously, ALL day), but Sunday was beautiful.  We went out for coffee and the worst croissant ever in the morning (the worst croissant ever was not what we went out for – why would that be my goal?  rotten goal – but it’s what I ended up with) and walked around a bit, discussing trips we’re planning (or maybe planning) for the fall.  We both have some vacation time we’re going to lose if we don’t use it by the end of December (which would be a crime), and we want to take an actual fun vacation without spending a ton of money (at least not while we’re also spending money on the flying lessons).  The question is where and when.  Still an open question.  But it’s a nice thing to talk about as you walk along on a beautiful Sunday morning.

Later in the day, after we managed to NOT go to the grocery store, AGAIN – no, seriously.  It’s not that hard.  In this case, we wanted to check out Graul’s Market, a store that doesn’t look all that great on the outside, but could be fine on the inside (better than fine would be nice) and is the closed grocery store to our house.  It was a little after 5 when we got there, and guess what?  They close at 5 on Sundays.  So rather than go to Giant or Whole Foods, we went home.  We can go without groceries for another day or so, right?  Sure!

Anyway, after we gave up on food, John spent some time working on his Android app, and I went over to the dock to read in the sunshine.  I’m trying to be mindful of how quickly the seasons change and how soon it’s going to be dark by 5pm, and I really really really really really want to make sure I’m appreciating the light and the nice weather while we have it.  And you know what?  It was really nice.  There were a lot of people coming and going, kids playing, dogs clearly wishing they could play with the kids, boats and the sky and the clouds, and oh yeah, my book…it was a nice evening to be out there.

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Check out the change in lighting.  These pictures were taken just a few minutes minutes apart, on my phone, and are shown here without any filters (because I don’t know how to do that).  I didn’t move at all, except to turn.  I was seated with my back to a post.  Looking ahead, I could see the dock.  Looking left, boats.  Neat.

It’s pretty darn nice here

I had the best morning today.  Getting up was a little difficult, but I got up and out and went for a run.  Ran over the Naval Academy Bridge (across the Severn River), went a little past and up to a scenic overlook.  I was skeptical, since it seemed like it would just look out over the road (yay road?), but no, they know what they’re talking about when they say there’s a scenic overlook.  There’s a view of the river and the bridge and the academy on the other side.  Scenic.  That was my halfway point, so I came back home thinking I’d grab John and we’d go have breakfast, but he wasn’t back yet.  (He went to Pax River last night to see Shorty and ended up staying.)  So I grabbed my phone and my key, went to Starbucks, and looked for a place to enjoy the sunshine and people-watch.  Found the city dock instead (where we saw a band Thursday night), so I plunked myself down right on the edge with my back to a support post, and talked to Mom and Dad for a half-hour or so.  It was SO nice.  Warm, but not hot, sunny, breezy (no bugs!), me with my iced white mocha.

See my shoes?  Proof I was there!

See my shoes? Proof I was there!

Better view, but not great.  The sun was in the wrong place.  Move, sun! (Yes, let's blame the sun.)

Better view, but not great. The sun was in the wrong place. Move, sun! (Yes, let’s blame the sun.)

I took a few blurry pictures of sailboats that I won’t subject you to, and I tried to get a picture of the guy who was sitting near the top of his big sailboat’s mast doing…something, but that picture didn’t come out well at all.

My terrible photos aside, it was SO pleasant, SO nice, and then as I was walking back to the apartment, I went down the street John usually parks on to see if he made it back, and there he was, driving up the street looking for a spot.  Perfect timing.  After we got his car safely parallel-parked next to a gigantic tree, we headed to West St to check out the flea market (underwhelming, but then, flea markets aren’t really our thing – it might have been an awesome flea market as those things go), and then we had coffee and breakfast at a spot down the road.

Every Saturday morning needs to go like this.  Every morning would be nice, but that might be asking too much.

Life is a stage

My run this morning was so great, it had to have been faked somehow.  I’m pretty sure I was on a movie set.  It was around 8:30 on a beautiful Saturday morning in spring.  The sky was clear and brilliantly blue and the sun was shining.  Everyone I passed answered my “Good morning!” or least waved or smiled back at me.  My running playlist (which is huge and on perpetual shuffle so I’m always surprised) skewed heavily toward Dean Martin with Three Dog Night’s “Let Me Serenade You” to bring me to the finish line.  The trees are still in bloom, and – I swear I’m not making this up – as I passed under a couple of cherry trees, a breeze picked up, and I ran through a cloud of tiny pink blossoms falling to the ground.  The only things missing were chirping cartoon bird.  I think I’ve seen this happen to Jennifer Garner.  Minus the cartoon birds.  I guess neither of us rate those.

Unreal.

Thank goodness for beach umbrellas

Hello, everyone!  I’m sorry I was missing for a week.  I was in (mostly) sunny, (mostly) warm Cancun with my sister, Ilyana Clover Mel, having a wonderfully relaxing time.  I came home basically the same shade of pale that I was when I left.  I consider that a win.

See how relaxed we look?

See how relaxed we look?

It was great.  Easy to get to (although we had to fly through JFK – wrong direction, guys!), no reason to leave the resort.  Every day was the same, in the best possible way.  We got up early every day so we could watch the sun rise on the beach.  (Sun rise was around 7:20 – getting up in time for that was still sleeping in for both of us.)  I left Mel meditating on the beach (and/or taking pictures – there was time for both) to go to the gym at 8am.  The first day was yoga, on the beach, just me and the instructor.  (It was always just me and the instructor, three days in a row.  I took a well-deserved day off on Thursday, and we left Friday morning.) Yoga on the beach, in the morning before anyone else is out, is SO COOL.  The other two mornings were aerobics/resistance/pilates-type workouts in the gym, and they were HARD.  The instructor (Israel) kicked my ass.  But it made me feel better about all the food I was eating.  Totally worth it.  Anyway, after the class ended (9am), I’d go back to the beach, round up Mel, and we’d go to breakfast.  Mimosas arrived shortly after we were seated and were kept filled.  After breakfast, back to the beach, lunch in one of the beachside restaurants or the grill, more beach time (so much reading), then off to the pool in the midafternoon, where we made friends at the swim-up bar (and Mel practiced her accents and various personalities – she had a LOT of people completely fooled).  Pool until early evening, then shower and dinner, and we were in bed nearly every night by 9:30.  Rinse and repeat.  It was a little bit of a shock to have to return to winter.

This is the sunrise when God gave us our instructions.  "I'm averting my eyes, oh Lord."

This is the sunrise when God gave us our instructions. “I’m averting my eyes, oh Lord.”

Context, for those who need it.

Balloons are fantastic

Birthday balloons!

These are from my team.  They arrived shortly after I got in this morning.  Then they sang Happy Birthday (they were goaded into it by someone walking by).  Then they took me to lunch (and told the waiters it was my birthday, so there was more singing) where I had to deal with this indignity:

Don’t ask what’s wrong with my face. It got stuck that way.

Then I got back from my lunch and was greeted with these:

After much confusion (the card only said “Surprise!”) and many texts, Mom finally admitted to sending them.  So I’ve got LOTS of balloons.  Mom’s are coming home with me.  I’ll probably take my work ones home tomorrow.

I think my favorite rendition of Happy Birthday so far was Gaby and Corey’s (sorry, Dad – yours is classic (for us), but hers is cuter).  It comes complete with cha-cha-chas at the end of every line.

It’s been a really nice birthday so far.  I think I’m going to have to reschedule my birthday dinner for another night, though.  I’m completely stuffed from lunch, and I really want lots of Indian food.  I don’t have it in me to enjoy that tonight.  But hey – that means more birthday time for me!

Mugs!

Guys, I have more mugs!  Really cute ones!  For reals, see?  My sister loves me.  The bamboo one has a panda in it!

I’m afraid I have a mug problem.  You’ve seen a sampling of my other mugs before, and I just got these three new ones (the floral ones are really good for deliciously sweet coffee on snowy days).  Well, last week I saw more mugs I MUST HAVE.  (Except that I don’t need them.  I just want them.  Really, I don’t know where I would put them.  We’re out of cabinet space.  But really, I want them.  Want is not the same as need, so I won’t get them.  I’ll just drool from afar.  Because I can’t have them.  Even though I want them.  We’re trying to stop accumulating stuff.  Really.  No more new stuff.)

The London mug

I can still admire them, though.  They’re made by Villeroy and Boch, and they’re part of the New Wave Caffe collection (cities of Europe).  There’s one each for London, Paris, Rome, and Berlin, with matching plates, and they’re adorable.

I would only want them if I got rid of all of my other mugs.  Which I will not do.  Why do I have a mug thing?  I don’t really have a shoe thing.  I have a book thing – isn’t that enough?  It’s not like I display my mugs.  …  No, I’m not going to display my mugs.  Back to these particular mugs – they’re not cheap.  Not crazy expensive, but we’re talking $20 a mug (when they’re on sale).  And that’s not including the matching plates or the cool spoons you can see in the picture I took.  So, yeah, maybe we are talking crazy expensive.  They’re MUGS.  I’m not spending $20 (or more) on a mug.  Boom.  Talked myself out of my muglust.