Saturday, November 20, 2010

Hello Out There!!

Dearest, beloved readers:

I have to apologize for our neglected, boring blog as of late. The last few weeks have flown by and I've been too busy keeping up with life as usual to blog about it. It's rainy and cold in San Jose (yes, this does happen here), and my commute up to the city is considerably more of a headache than usual. The first year we lived in L.A., I couldn't believe what a big deal the rain was. People call in sick to work, forget how to drive safely or simply stop driving altogether. As a native Oregonian, I found this to be quite funny. After three years living in California, however, I can empathize with these folks. Most of the roads (even major highways) are not "crowned," and heavy rains create huge pools of water causing sprays which block visibility. Speeding is more or less the normal pace for drivers here, and result in accidents when the first rains create slick roads and drivers leave no stopping distance. In short, California and its inhabitants just not set up for rain. Neither is our poor dog Lily, who shakes and hyperventilates every time she hears the rain loudly falling on our flat roof. To her credit, it actually does sound like the world is falling on our apartment. (As a side note, you will never, ever find a flat roof in Oregon. They don't exist - for this very reason.)

We did enjoy a beautiful sunny day last week on an official husband/wife date out on the town in San Jose. For all the usual and predictable reasons, Adam & I don't get out on dates as often as we'd like. We get busy, money is tight, and we get sort of comfortable in our normal routine at home. We decided to spend the entire day doing fun, cheap/free things together with no other agendas. This past year, Adam has been particularly interested in astronomy and so we planned a science/cosmos-themed date:
  • Visit to the NASA Ames Research Center, home to moon rocks, spacecraft, and, at one time, the Hubble Space telescope.
  • Viewing of the IMAX movie "Hubble" downtown
  • Exploring the San Jose Tech Museum (everything you'd expect of a museum in the middle of Silicon Valley dedicated to all things "tech")
  • Happy Hour at McCormick & Schmick's downtown, to include drinks and $3 cheeseburgers
  • And on an unrelated note, we took a stroll around our local mall for some preliminary Christmas shopping (window shopping, actually) followed by a trip at Yogurtland, one of a hundred different "froyo" shops here in the South Bay.
I have to say, watching deep space fly by on an IMAX screen as you explore other galaxies and beautiful sights is an hour well spent. I find contemplating the vastness of space to be both terrifying and peaceful. And awesome.

I regret not getting out more to do of these types of things when we lived in L.A. At the time, we were so busy just getting by that it often didn't happen. We worked at various jobs, and I was going to school, spending my weekends at the library and waitressing at night after my long internship days. When I complain about being exhausted at my job now, I think back to all those early mornings watching the sunrise after studying all night and it gives me some perspective. After two years of never really having any true guiltless free time (in grad school, you are never truly "done" with the work you should be doing) I'm remembering how important it is to live in the moment, take those chances you are offered to see the world and enjoy life while it's happening.

Next week we're planning to drive up to Oregon to spend Thanksgiving with my dad and see our other family there for the holidays. We're hoping for a safe, uneventful drive though I am expecting to see some snow. I'm looking forward to the trip and will try to put some pictures up soon.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Bend: The land of brews and heavenly vistas

Last weekend I flew up to Bend, Oregon to visit family and enjoy a three day weekend. It actually snowed the week before I arrived, but the weather during my trip was perfect. My dad recently relocated there, and I also got to stay with my grandma and grandpa who live nearby. Halloween was spent handing out candy to the throngs of trick or treaters that trek up to my grandma's neighborhood. There were lots of great costumes and festive houses, like this one.

I've also noticed some disturbing new developments in modern-day trick or treating. First of all, even groups of middle-aged children were accompanied by an adult right up to the doorstep. I've always felt that having to leave your parents and/or responsible adult at the sidewalk was sort of important. Yes, it can be scarier to go it alone, but it's a step every kid has to make someday. I also observed more than one parent not only walk up to the door, but actually hold out their own pillowcase as if to suggest they should also be given candy. I'm not one of those stickler types that won't give candy out to kids who don't have costumes, or who are clearly over the accepted age limit. But the line must be drawn somewhere. Needless to say, we had a steady stream of trick or treaters for over two hours and estimated we probably gave out candy to over 75 kids. It was great fun.

The next day, my dad and I spent the afternoon exploring his new home. It was wonderful to be amongst the trees and fresh air with him. My lackluster photography skills really don't do justice to the natural beauty there.

Smith Rock and the Crooked River

Rock climbers from around the world flock here to test their mountain-dangling skills. Dad and I decided that we probably weren't cut out for scaling the rock face across the river, but could possibly hike up the small hill he is pointing at below.

We enjoyed a night on the town in downtown Bend, which boasts some really awesome beer, beautiful parks and laid-back townsfolk. Bend just East of the Cascades, and the desert climate means sunny days year-round during which people can ski, snowboard, go mountain biking, rafting, hiking, fishing, get the idea. I think he's going to have a lot of fun living there.

Drake Park

Thankfully, Lily and Adam did a great job watching over the house while I was away.