Portland, Cape Perpetua, Redwood National Forest

Jon made it to Portland! Finally! He got here on Wednesday night and we headed directly downtown to grab a bite to eat at Pok Pok! The food there was a bit on the pricier side ($$ on Yelp, I’d say) but it was absolutely delicious!

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After that, we hit up an old school that was turned into a hotel/bar/theater before finally making our way to the Deschutes Brewery for a quick drink before calling it a night!

Thursday we had another Portland day! We ended up getting breakfast at the Waffle Window (my favorite) and then headed down to the Pittock Mansion so Jon could get a quick view! My car was rear ended in the parking lot but thankfully, all was okay and there was no damage! Next stop was the Rogue Brewery! I wasn’t able to drink because I felt so horrible from my one beer the night before, but Jon enjoyed his samplers! We decided to just walk around, make a quick stop at Voodoo Donuts, and just do some city exploring! I had been wanting to get some pictures of the Portland sign at night, so we braved it in the insane wind until it got dark enough!

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We made it back home so that Jon could meet my roommate and her son and then I packed up all 8 weeks of belongings before I had one last sleep in Portland!

We headed out early on Friday morning!

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It ended up being a very slow day because the Oregon coast is just so amazing! You guys are getting all my iPhone pictures on here since my camera ones aren’t up yet, but it’ll do! Our first stop was in Lincoln City so Jon could see the beach house I’ve gone to a few times!

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Can I even put into words how excited I was about having a sunny day?! I guess the big storms the night before cleared the path for the sun! Unfortunately, it was overcast in Portland when we left so Jon didn’t get a view of Mt Hood, but he didn’t mind nearly as much as me!

We spent a ton of time at Cape Perpetua! I had been dying to see Thor’s Well but was amazed at the first stop we made along the cape at Devil’s Churn! We stood and watched the water crashing in for quite some time before making our next stop!

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We headed down to the Spouting Horn hike since I had read that Spouting Horn was the same as Thor’s Well. They aren’t the same but they are in a very similar location. Below is Spouting Horn, which is right at Cook’s Chasm.

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We did manage to find Thor’s Well but I wasn’t about to venture close enough with the huge waves coming in! I think the storm brought in some really harsh waves and currents to an area that already is pretty crazy, so I passed on that one! We probably spent an hour at Cape Perpetua before moving along to Heceta Head Lighthouse!

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The sun was starting to set while we were up at the lighthouse!

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And by the time we made it back down to the beach, it was perfect timing for the sun to go below the horizon!

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We ended up driving for a few hours in the dark until we got to northern California! I was sad to miss out on the coast up there but knew we’d have plenty coming up in the next few days!

We started out early this morning to make sure we had plenty of time to get in the Redwoods and still make our way down some of Hwy 1!

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I thought this tree was big, but we ended up finding much bigger trees! At first I thought they weren’t that cool, but the bigger they got, the more awesome it was! I actually really enjoyed them and recommend making your way down Avenue of the Giants if you go into the national forest.

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We spent a really long time driving through the forest and out to the ocean! But we did finally make it!

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After driving the coast for about two hours and seeing a bunch of similar but awesome views, we headed inland and down to Napa! We’re spending the night in Napa so that we can do some wineries and maybe make it to San Francisco tomorrow before going down to Monterey! We’re trying to fit Vegas in for a night and we’re spending a day in Oklahoma City with my best deployment buddy, but aside from that, no set plans!

The End of Portland!

Well, my time in Portland is almost up! I just worked 11a-11p tonight (I got off a little early) and tomorrow night, I work my last shift up here! I’m doing 7p-7a, which will be my first night shift ever, aside from when I was in Iraq!

I wish I could make an “overall” statement about Portland! I guess I would say that this assignment has overall been a pretty good one! I really loved my job here! I can’t stress that enough. I would come back to work at this hospital full time in a heartbeat. The doctors and the staff were fun! The ER is actually pretty well organized and similar to how we did things in Georgia. I felt like things were safe and effective, and honestly, I loved the slower pace! I could keep doing ER if I had a pace like that all the time! We had a max of three rooms no matter what the assignment is, which was the best thing ever! Great job. Great ER. Great people.

I only wish the weather had been better in my time here and that Jess could have come to this assignment with me! I think I would have enjoyed it so much more if either one of those had happened, but I’m still really glad that I came out here. I definitely feel like I’m growing as a nurse and even though I may not be getting all the critical care experience that I was getting in Georgia (and therefore feel a bit behind when I head back to such a busy trauma center), but I know that I’m becoming much more well rounded. I still find the differences to be so interesting, in management, patients, and just nursing stuff like the medications used.

I also have been getting so much better at IV sticks lately! Maybe better isn’t even the right word- but more confident. In general, ER nurses have to be pretty good at them. I put in anywhere from 2-10 on an average day. But I’ve had a lot of people ask me here to get a hard stick for them and go in and get it without any real problems on my first try. We had a respiratory patient the other day that I was told how hard they were to get a line and went and popped in two IVs without any difficulty, although I could see why he would have been a harder stick. I went and stuck one in this guy’s hand, and then it was pulled out in CT and the guy ended up with a central line cause nobody else could get one in (I wish I could have gone back to try again, but I was tied up). Perhaps I should just be thankful now, where the hard sticks actually still have veins, as opposed to when I get back to dialysis land in Georgia where their veins really are shit. But I used to always think, “Well, if you can’t get an IV, then I definitely can’t!” Now I know that I might actually be able to get it (and almost always do) when somebody else can’t!

I think that this assignment has made mine and Jon’s marriage much stronger. I feel like the first one tore us down a bit. I felt distanced from him and although I was still excited to be with him, I felt much more independent of him. I had a really hard time adjusting to being with him when I was back in town. I may still have some little hiccups in adjusting to being at home, but I really have grown so much more appreciative of Jon and so much more excited to spend time with him. I still wouldn’t quit traveling for good to stay at home with him (yet), but I’m excited to maybe spend a little more than 1-2 weeks with him in the next few months! It’ll be good to be by his side a little more often! We argued maybe a handful of times, and those arguments were extremely minor. When I was in Massachusetts, we had much more frequent arguments! Not even sure why, but we did! Over just about anything! I just miss him too much to not enjoy our time talking!

So that’s the end of assignment #2! Jon will be here in less than 48 hours (AHHHH!) and after 1 1/2 days in Portland, we’ll be headed down south through California for our trip home! Can’t wait! I’ll keep you guys updated with some beautiful coastlines over the next week or so!

Pittock Mansion & Portland

After tossing and turning for hours last night, I got out of bed at 11:45 so that I could spend my very last free day in Portland doing something better than laying around! I headed out the door to see the Pittock Mansion, which I’ve heard has good views of the city and was all decorated for Christmas! The mansion was built in 1914 by a couple who basically helped develop Portland as a city!

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The mansion was beautiful on the outside but no Christmas decorations! I was really expecting some Christmas lights on the outside or something! It was pretty neat though because all the snow was blowing off the trees, so it felt like it was snowing outside!

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You all know I love me some Mt Hood! Not only that, but I could see Mt St Helen’s and Mt Adam’s as well! My phone wouldn’t have captured them and I haven’t uploaded the photos yet from my camera, but this was the good one! Apparently Mt Rainier is visible on clear days as well!

The mansion was only $10, but I was really disappointed in it! The actual mansion itself was really neat, but the Christmas decorations were so gaudy! I wish I had taken one on my phone! In on of the bathrooms, they stuck two gigantic gingerbread houses that literally took up the entire bathroom so you weren’t able to see any of the original features. Strange. But I still enjoyed the afternoon! It was definitely much quicker than I had planned!

I headed into Portland to see the Ira Keller Fountain but all the water was drained for the winter! I was so bummed! I probably should have snapped a few photos of it empty, but it just looked like a bunch of cement blocks! I did buy a new scarf from H&M and get to walk around the cute streets of Portland again though!

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I ran by work to grab my daily planner (I was lost without it and so worried I’d mess up my work days) and then headed to Whole Foods for some groceries. I threw together some stuff to take to work and then headed out to the gym! I ended up doing a mile run (I made it to 6.2 with no pain!) and then walked 3/4 of a mile at an incline. I get so much more tired doing that than running right now (since I’m still watching my pace till my hip is 100%) and I’m kind of liking the different challenge. I had planned on doing some legs, but a bunch of bros were taking up my leg area so I just did a few leg presses and a few planks and moved on with my night!

Not that I’m a foodie blogger, I figured I’d snap a quick picture of my dinner tonight (that I ate at 10:30pm)! I found some pretty good peppered deli turkey at Whole Foods and got some salami for my protein. I really would have liked some cheese on that spaghetti squash and on my meats, but I thought I had a lot left so I didn’t buy any when I went grocery shopping. Come to find out, I barely even have enough for my hash browns these next few mornings! Ah well. And I had more grapes but dropped them on the floor, and since the floor here is lived on by a 2 year old, I decided to just let those ones go.

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I’m going to chill for a bit and I’m really hoping to get to sleep around 1am! I’ve been relying on Benadryl for sleep a lot more lately and I really want to try to go without it, but I just don’t do well swapping back and forth so much with the hours that I sleep! I notice that I’ve been tossing and turning a whole lot more lately than I ever used to!

Tomorrow marks one week until Jon gets here and 9 days till I leave Portland!

Yummy Recipes, Cannon Beach, Oswald West State Park, and Bye Bye IG and FB!

I’m now 3 full days back to healthier eating and I already feel so much better! I’ve actually ended up cutting coffee out for these three days as well but I don’t plan on that going on much longer! I’m already feeling an urge to get all the Dutch Bros and Peet’s in that I can before I leave Portland in less than 2 weeks!

It helps that I made the best dish ever though…

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I know the picture sucks because it was night time and it’s super dark in the house, but for real- so good. I bought a bag of frozen, cubed sweet potatoes and one of butternut squash and stuck them in the oven at 400 while I cubed 2 apples. I also had walnuts cooking on the stove in maple syrup and cinnamon on medium heat. Once the walnuts seemed like they were all glazed and yummy, I added everything to the dish and threw on some nutmeg and cinnamon to all the rest of the stuff and put it back in the oven till everything was somewhat soft. I’m pretty sure this is one of the best things I’ve ever made. And thanks to the freezer section, it was also really simple.

Pretty sure that has helped me stay sane on this no bread/sugar kick (I’m not counting maple syrup) because it’s just so delicious.

Yesterday I headed out to the coast to Oswald West State Park! It was a little snowy going through the north end of the Tillamook National Forest and the snow makes me so nervous! I did get an awesome view of Mt St Helen’s though! It’s kind of cool cause while I was getting a photo, a woman asked if it was Mt Hood or Mt St Helen’s. You really do get to know what they look like though! Mt Hood is much pointier and the summit leans to the north. Mt St Helen’s is a lot more flat!

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You can see some of the snow that was on the trees right in the front. Mt St Helen’s is gorgeous too, but just doesn’t have the same appeal as Mt Hood for me! I’m still dying to see Mt Rainier though! I bet it’s magnificent (I can’t believe I used that word, but that’s what I picture!)

The drive put me out just north of Cannon Beach, so I decided to make a quick pit stop! The rocks were just massive coming out of the water! I stayed away from them for the most part since it just looked really crowded up close, but it was still beautiful! The town of Cannon Beach was adorable too! I wish I had decided to spend the night there!

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I kept heading down to Oswald West but over the side of the road saw a little area that looked really awesome! The next few photos are from Hug Point!

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Hug Point

I almost went back to my car but decided to walk up the beach a little! So glad I did, cause I found this waterfall!

Hug Point

Hug Point

I finally made it down to Oswald West and started out on the Cape Falcon hike! It seemed easy and the elevation gain was under 200 ft, but it was 5 miles round trip! I decided I didn’t want to get sucked into a 5 mile hike since I was already seeing such amazing places and my daylight was getting limited, so I walked back to the car and drove on. I came to this very short hike next, which led me to some breathtaking views! Reminded me of Australia!

Oswald West State Park

Oswald West State Park

I just sat out there and enjoyed the view for awhile. It was just absolutely amazing to see the ocean from up so high and all the rocks and whirlpools! I love the PNW! I love being near the water and love being near the mountains and I tell Jon all the time that we need to live near one or the other in the future, but you win living up here! (Except for the m’f’ing RAIN!) After my mini hike, I drove further down the coast and saw another beautiful view!

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After getting back in the car and making one more quick stop in the town of Manzanita (also cute, but not as cute as Cannon Beach), I decided to head home! I was getting nervous about the roads icing over at night even though it hadn’t rained at all, but the roads were still wet in the mountains because of the shade. Instead of heading back north to where I came from, I headed way south in hopes of roads with no snow! Good call- I made it, despite an added hour of driving time! And I got to enjoy some new views as well!

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Today I headed to the Japanese Garden in Portland. I’m sure it’s beautiful in the summer, but all the leaves were gone and it was a bit of a disappointment! The Lan Su Chinese Garden wins for my Portland gardens!

I managed to get a great upper body workout in tonight and 16 or 17 minutes of going backwards on the elliptical (gotta work that butt sometimes). My hip only bothers me rarely these days, but still am not pushing the lower body workouts! Although I can’t wait for some leg workouts that just fatigue my muscles again! These baby leg workouts will do for now though.

And for my last news, I decided last night to deactivate my Facebook temporarily! I also deleted Instagram off my phone. I’m sure both of them will come back sooner than later, but I’m going to try to keep off of them until Jon and I head back on our road trip at least. It feels strange not picking up my phone and browsing through there, but I find Facebook to be kind of boring anyway and it’s just a time filler. I do like posting what I do cause I know mine and Jon’s parents follow it so it’s fun for them to connect with me while I’m away, but I won’t be doing anything other than working over the next week anyway! It’s probably good to disconnect for a bit and I’m hoping to start filling my time more productively for a little while and break the habit of just getting on Facebook out of boredom. What did I do before my iPhone, anyway?!

This was definitely long enough! Have a good night, everybody!

Workouts + Waffle Window

I had another day of staying in bed till 3pm! The rain was coming down pretty good today, so I lost all desire to get out of bed! No way I’m exploring in constant rain! I was awake a lot of the time, but really, I’m still enjoying my lazy days in bed! Can’t help it.

As soon as I got up, I headed out the door to the gym. I had a good mile run and then did some sumo deadlifts. I was able to lift more and go a little lower than I was before and actually think I may have been able to hit my weights on the floor at the end of every rep, but I didn’t. I made it through some Romanian deadlifts and some dips and a bit of an ab workout, but then I was feeling depleted! I go to the gym without eating first about 25% of the time and typically make it through fasted workouts just fine, but every once in awhile, I just want food! Today was one of those days. So I kept it short and sweet and headed out to get some waffles! (Duh- gotta refuel after a fasted workout.)

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I decided to head to the other Waffle Window on Alberta St today (this one was closer) and it definitely was cuter than the other one on Hawthorne St. This one actually had its own space!

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How cute is this place?

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I ate the same savory one as I did last time (Three B’s, added an egg) and then got a pumpkin pie waffle since it’s the last weekend for it! I ate part of the pumpkin pie one at home and it was good, but not as good as the savory one! I need to cut back again on my breads, but I’ll only be here to enjoy these for 2 more weeks, so I’m just kind of ignoring my eating habits for right now.

I ran some errands after that and then came home. I took some Benadryl tonight so I’m about to shut off the computer, get ready for bed, and do some reading! I’m headed to Seattle tomorrow to hang out for the day exploring and then at night, I’m going to Vashon Island with my oldest sister for the night and part of Tuesday! I’m excited!

I’ll check back in later!

Getting Dressed and Getting Beer!

Another lazy day down in the books! I woke up at 9am and started doing business from bed! Jon called me with some current updates, which affects my job situation come January! Then I talked to my recruiters about my January job (I’m wanting to go to Santa Fe, NM!) and then called Jess to talk to her! Then I called Jon back to talk to him again! My hold up now is that Jon may have to travel coming up, and if he does, I don’t want our cats to be alone all week long! Our cats are not independent at all! They follow us around, get ready in the morning with us, join us in bed, and sit with us all the time! When it was just Kitty and me living alone, she would eat the fur out of her back when I was working a lot as a stress response! And Tom pees on the carpet when he gets angry (luckily, we only have one entry rug in our house now- but only cause he peed on all my other rugs and we have hardwoods in the whole house now- also why he can’t go to my parent’s house, which was my usual solution in my pre-Tom days).

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Things are still unknown as of this time, so I may have to hold off on applying for jobs in Santa Fe and put my traveling on hold for the time being. I’m not ready for the traveling days to be behind me, but those little furballs have my heart and I could not leave them home alone for 4 days at a time for a few months! I would feel like such a guilty, horrible mother! I don’t think I could even enjoy traveling as much if I was worried about them at home! (My love for cats is serious business.)

After my business was complete, I fell back to sleep till 2pm. I’m getting in a bad habit of sleeping all day, but I’m calling this “resting my hip.” I woke up and headed out to the gym after eating a little something, but ended up skipping it and getting coffee instead! I decided to be smart and give my hip some more rest since it’s been a little achy lately.

Tonight I went out for beer with Adam! I got dressed for the third time in 6 weeks tonight!

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Sometimes I forget what it’s like to wear clothes and have my hair down (this was only the second time having my hair down in 6 weeks)! I actually kind of enjoy it at times, especially because lately it has happened so infrequently!

We went to Base Camp Brewing Co downtown and got smores stouts!

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I’ve really come to like stouts lately! I’ve still had my fair share of stouts that I don’t prefer, but there are definitely some good ones out there! This was a good one! And the toasted marshmallow (mine was the perfect one, Adam’s was the burnt one) was a bonus too! Adam reconfigured my external hard drive in about 5 seconds and then my computer spent an hour transferring pictures! I still need to transfer the photos from my other external hard drive over to the new one too!

Tomorrow is back to work for three days! I’m going to see about extending my contract by a week and I’m really hoping they let me! It would give me a chance to work another week before Jon gets here and that money would definitely help us out since both of us will be taking over 2 weeks off of work in December! I have no idea what is happening this weekend, but probably a lot of sleeping and being lazy! Seems to be my thing lately! And I’m just going totally enjoy it while I can and not feel guilty about laying in my nice, fleece sheets till 2pm anymore! I have a feeling these lazy days are only going to last for a few more months and I might as well soak it in! Those grad school days are coming!

I was hoping to curl up on the couch and catch up on some TV, but there’s no cable right now! I don’t even know why! It’s not even raining!!! Frustrating! I get tired of watching everything on my computer!

Silver Falls State Park & Lazy Days

Yesterday I went to Silver Falls State Park! Best decision ever! I found it randomly through some searches for hikes in the area (also found the Silver Star Trail in Washington which I am dying to do now also!).

I woke up early-ish yesterday and headed south! The drive was just under two hours and I was so glad to find how easy it was to pay to park and that there were no crazy fees at the park!

I started out at the main lot and headed to see one of the most photographed falls in Oregon! Notice that you can walk behind the falls!

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It was very icy out there and I was moving so slow! There were rails along the way to hold onto though and the ice wasn’t anything too extreme, so I kept on going! This park has 10 waterfalls and you can do a 4-5 mile loop and hit a bunch of them, so that was the goal!

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Little bitty falls! I don’t think this one counts towards the 10 falls!

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The next fall was also awesome and the trail continued behind it also! Unfortunately, the trail on the right side of this photo was like a skating rink and it was tilted towards the water (doesn’t seem like it in the photo, but it was). I literally had to crawl on my hands and knees and then decided to give up! Quite frankly, I was freezing cold and while I could have crawled to that rail in the distance, I wasn’t feeling that adventurous!

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After having to stop there, I went back to my car to try and drive to the parking lots near some of the others! I had seen two lots on my drive in so I knew you could!

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This one was tricky to get a photo with! I had to crawl down to the bottom and then couldn’t get far enough away to get a good shot of the entire fall! It was amazing with all the ice near it though! Imagine the ground covered in that!

I decided to go to one more waterfall and then head out! I was so cold and my gloves got wet holding onto all the rails, so my hands were barely functioning anymore! I was grateful for my warming time in the car driving between these places, but it was such a short distance that I didn’t get warm enough!

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This one was so amazing! To walk behind the fall, you’re in this huge arch and it’s so incredibly loud with all the water rushing over the rocks above you and hitting below you! It also was a huge amount of water coming down! Very awesome! I’m adding this one to my favorite falls list!

Afterwards, I stopped by the outlets to check The North Face outlet for gloves! Of course, I accidentally got back on the highway instead of turning into the outlets and it took me 16 miles out of my way (the exits are so far apart!). I ended up buying another pair of Under Armour leggings (I LOVE their leggings and wear them all winter- either for running, under jeans, or under yoga pants). I got lost trying to find The North Face and then when I found it, it was super crowded and they only sold jackets.

I headed back to get dinner with Juliette. I was absolutely starving (it had been 9 hours since I ate) so I asked if she was still going to want to get dinner or should I stop in Portland. No answer (she rarely has her phone on her). She finally answered when I was minutes from home (30 minutes north of Portland) and said Roy wasn’t going to tolerate sitting in a restaurant! I was craving Waffle Window so I headed downtown! Turns out, I missed them by 45 minutes! I was so bummed and so freaking hungry! I found a Thai place close by with great reviews of their crab langoon (do Thai places call it langoon and not rangoon?)! I love crab rangoon so I went there! Turns out, they were out of crab langoon! UGH! #travelfails

I ate a mediocre dish (I’m not a big oriental food person) and then went to get a berry pie from Whiffies. I headed home to eat it and then relaxed for the night!

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I had planned on hiking Angel’s Rest today but stay asleep till 1pm! Impressive! Then I laid in bed reading blogs, got up to eat, and am now sitting by the fire writing this. I may head to the gym later or to the grocery store, but being lazy is feeling pretty nice today. I wish I could just curl up in my pajamas by the fire and have a movie night, but living with an almost 3 year old prevents that type of thing from happening!

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Time to go clean up the kitchen from my 3pm breakfast!

 

 

Beacon Rock State Park, Lan Su Chinese Garden, & Stopping The Pill

Since I told you all about my $100 parking ticket, I figured I’d include my $100 photos in today’s blog! This is at Beacon Rock State Park in Washington! While the photos are pretty, this was really all there was and it was definitely not worth the $100! (Some parks, I’d be much more okay with $100 tickets- like Rocky Mountain or Arches- not this itty bitty “state park.”)

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I came home as it was starting to get dark, and Mt Hood was looking pretty spectacular! This is where I’m living out here, so on a clear day, Mt Hood is my usual view! It would seriously never get old to see her every day!

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Yesterday was definitely a tough day. I know I’m beyond fortunate to be out traveling all over the place, but I’m feeling like things have just been knocking me down lately! Thankfully, I love my job, so my job isn’t a contributing factor! I’m missing Jon like crazy on this assignment though, and so much is up in the air with him at this time, so I have no idea if he’ll be coming out here in December or not! I’m also feeling behind on bills (we have plenty in savings but I really try my hardest not to take money out of savings!) and knowing I’m about to spend much more heading home in a month than I did coming out here, and that I’ll be making WAY LESS money at home is a bit stressful! I’m glad to be going home for the holidays, but 8 weeks isn’t long enough to save up on a travel assignment! And getting that $100 ticket when I was already feeling a little down was just knocked me down some more! On top of all of that, my hip has been hurting a more over the last few days and I haven’t even been going to the gym (I also fell down the stairs tonight and irritated it even more!). I have a hard time dragging myself out of bed here since I tend not to flip flop my schedule very well either.

Finally, like I mentioned, this is my very first time in 11 years off my birth control! I’m only on my 2nd week off, so I had my usual “withdrawal” week, and now I think my body is just out of whack! I had been really emotionally stable over the last few months (aside from brief periods of time) and these days, I am feeling like a total wreck! After some googling, I’m realizing it’s pretty normal (also, a lot of women complained of headaches and feeling tired, both of which describe me at the moment also)! I’ve heard from friends who have gone off the pill that they felt great after and had no more mood swings! I’m feeling the total opposite! I’ve always been a little concerned about the effects of the use of the pill long term but never really researched it. I got my period when I was 15 and have been on the pill since I was 17, so I don’t even really know what my body is like without it! I’m hoping these moods even out! I did make it to the gym tonight and felt much better after going, but with my hip still bothering me, I’m trying not to go on a daily basis! It’ll definitely be interesting to see how things go for me.

Anyway, I slept till 1 today and then decided I needed to do something with my day! I started at Cup Coffee Co and had the best bagel ever! I try not to eat bagels because I try not to eat much bread, and that’s all a bagel is! So it’s been since NYC and I must say, it was a dang good first bagel to have!

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I think I need to go back there! I was feeling a bit happier after sitting at a coffee shop on a fairly decent day (meaning not so overcast)! I headed to the Lan Su Chinese Garden  next! It reminded me of the Yuyuan Garden in Shanghai but way smaller! (For any of you visiting Shangai, I very highly recommend the Yuyuan Garden!) It was a nice day for it and not too insanely crowded!

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I enjoyed about 45 minutes there and then headed to do some shopping! Made it to the gym tonight and wore myself out with clean and jerks (a sad 45#)! I did the elliptical backwards with a high resistance to work my glutes since my hip makes it so hard to do anything to work them! I do sumo deadlifts also, but I can’t go heavy and I can’t hit the weight on the ground because of the hip, but the elliptical felt good!

Tomorrow I’m really hoping to wake up early for a Mt Hood hike, but it’s almost midnight and I’m not tired, so we’ll see!

Crater Lake, Newbury Volcanoes, Painted Hills

My trip to Crater Lake, the Newbury Volcanoes, and the Painted Hills was totally not what I expected!

I checked in with you guys from the hotel on Saturday night, right before I had a Forensic Files marathon and then couldn’t sleep! Normally I don’t get spooked from Forensic Files, but I think my secluded hotel room had me convinced that there were dead bodies under my bed and that a killer was about to start pounding on my door. Needless to say, I didn’t get much sleep that night.

I was super excited to head out on Sunday morning for Crater Lake! It’s been at the top of my list now for a few years, so despite being super exhausted, I was pumped.

I noticed on the drive in that hardly anybody was taking the road, which was the only road that was supposed to be open into the park at this time of the year. Then I passed a sign that said “North Rim: Open. South Rim: Open.” Perfect! I wanted to head out of the North end at that the end of the day and this would make that drive even shorter!

As I drove on, I noticed snow on top of some of the mountains in the distance. As I kept on going, I started seeing some snow on the ground in front of me…

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I kept on heading in since the roads were plowed, but realized when I got into the park that not much was going to be going on! The visitors center had one other car there and the girl working said only the cafe was open at the top of the road. I mentioned that I was wanting to see the Newbury Volcanoes afterwards and she mentioned that they were most likely closed because of snow also! I was hoping she would be wrong… I decided to head on up to Crater Lake to at least get some good views, even if it was snowy! I could just walk the rim anyway!

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That was my view. I could hear the water, but the wind was crazy up there and everything just looked white. I could barely see anything and was totally bummed out! It was still neat to see the snow on all the trees and it was very serene, but… the water! The views! Instead, my hands froze and I trudged through snow (in my new waterproof hiking shoes, at least), just to look at even more white. No point in continuing my trek just to stare into an endless sea of white.

I decided to head to the Newbury Volcanoes and see if that was even open or not so that I’d have a better idea of what my Monday had in store for me! It took about 2 hours to get there and again, I noticed snow at the top of the mountain range from the bottom. I decided to head up anyway and was hopeful that I’d see at least a few good views!

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Paulina Lake. That was about it. I attempted to go on to the next lake, but I ended up having to back down the road in order to get to a place where I could turn around because the road became too slick for my little car. With no cell signal, steep drop offs, and a Civic, I decided that we had enough of the snow.

I got into Bend and took a quick nap before heading out to a park I found online!

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The park had some beautiful views and I loved the feel of downtown Bend! Seeing towns like that just makes me want to sell our house and head out west somewhere! It’s breathtaking! I enjoyed some dinner at a local place (Spork) and then headed back to the hotel to relax!

I woke up to sun today, so I was really excited about my day! It hasn’t been sunny in well over a week and I need sun in my life on the regular to be happy! I had a quick breakfast and then went to Pilot Butte for some views!

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I have been to some pretty amazing places in my life (Australia, Greece, Croatia…), but nothing amazes me like seeing snow capped volcanoes (I was told that calling them “mountains” is confusing and that quite a few people actually have no idea that “Mt” Hood is actually a volcano… Pretty much all the mountains here are volcanoes…)! It still takes my breath aware every time I see Mt Hood, and I can see Mt Hood all day long when it’s not too overcast!

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Ahhh, Mt Hood, so pretty! Thankfully my long lens is able to capture the mountains fairly up close. The pictures really don’t do it justice! I always try to send Jon pictures from my phone of Mt Hood in the background, but you can barely see it on a phone. In reality, it looks like a beast.

After Pilot Butte, I headed over to the Painted Hills! I knew that this wouldn’t be snowed out and since it was such a gorgeous day, I was really beyond excited.

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It’s always exciting to see some water along the way! I love all bodies of water, but they’re even better when they have mountains around them.

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Of course, I also had to enjoy my cup of Dutch Bros, in their cute little holiday cups! Definitely going to miss this coffee when I leave here! I was glad to finally make it to the Painted Hills, and when I stopped to use the restroom, a guy in the parking lot (we were the only two cars) told me that this place was definitely worth the drive (he saw my Georgia plates). So I was very excited!

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After all that snow I encountered, this place did not disappoint! It was gorgeous and it was such a beautiful day!

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As I trekked through this scenery, I really just thought about how amazing life is. In 28 years, I’ve traveled to Italy (twice), Switzerland, Spain, Greece, Croatia, China, Hong Kong, Australia, and Kuwait and Iraq (if you count those two), plus I’m getting to travel all over the US now. So many people never take the opportunity to travel and I just make it happen, year after year. I’ve seen so many different coastlines, mountain ranges, desserts, cities… I absolutely love being able to do this and hope to never stop traveling.

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After thoroughly enjoying my time there, I decided to head back to Washington (I stay just over the Columbia River in Washington). Unfortunately, the only signal I could get was just barely enough to load a map, so I ended up screen shutting a map in order to make my way home. It must have been the long way to go, cause it took me 5 1/2 hours to get back and was supposed to be less than 3. Oh well! I got to see some more amazing scenery!

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I actually got to see a ton of mountain tops from afar (Mt Rainier, impressively enough, but it was tiny, Mt Adams, Mt Jefferson…), but this is about the distance that I am on a daily basis from Hood, so this one wins. Besides, the gloom is back, so also fairly accurate. Hood is usually fogged out on rainy days though. Not the best composition for a picture, but I never want to be the one to pull off on the narrow shoulder in the gorge just to take photos.

And with that, my trip has come to an end! I’m back a day earlier than planned, but this cold is kicking my butt, so I plan on having a relaxing day tomorrow before heading back to 3 days straight at work!