Today we took a trip with Kaku to Silver Falls State Park just outside of Salem, Oregon. We’d been planning this trip for a while, but the weekend weather and other plans always seemed to get in the way. But we planned ahead this time to make sure the weather was good and that we were all free.
It was a great trip. The weather was perfect, and the hike was pretty easy. (I say “pretty easy” because I’m horribly out of shape, and one of the up-hill patches was a little tough for me. Resolution: get in shape.) First, we headed to the South Falls. Before we got there, however, we took a brief detour to Frenchie Falls. As you can tell, Andrew and Kaku were far from impressed by what they called “The Surrender-Monkey Falls”:
The South Falls were a little more in size with what we wanted to see. It had a nice path that lead behind the falls, and on that path, you could see all the erosion “chimneys” where water had worn away at the rock.
We followed that path and joined up with the Canyon Trail, which we took to the Lower South Falls. The Lower South Falls are a little shorter, but much wider than South Falls. The walk behind this falls was pretty flooded, so we had to do a little jumping to get by.
Then we hiked up Maple Ridge Trail back to the parking lot and from there drove over to North Falls. If we’d had more time, we might have hiked it, but since we didn’t get to the park until about 2:30, and still wanted to get home for pizza-making, we decided to utilize our modern amenities. Didn’t bring my camera for North Falls, which is too bad, because it was nice and tall. It reminded me of Richenbach Falls in Switzerland.
And now we’re back, making pizza! Later, we’re going to head to The Wooden Chicken for some cocktails. ^_^
Now that’s what I call a sun worshipper. Just can’t get close enough. ^_^
Speaking of cats! Went out last night with friends for gelato at Staccato Gelato. I don’t know if I’ve ever had real gelato before, so I thought it was pretty tasty (especially the zingy Blood Orange flavor! Mmmm…), though Andy says he likes more ice creamy gelato, and this was a little more icy than creamy. Still, the fruity flavors were yummy in my tummy. ^_^
But as for the cat! There’s a random cat who hangs out at Staccato Gelato. He’s such a sweet, lazy cat, and is totally unfazed by all the people around him. It’s like the shop is his own personal little kingdom, filled with all his admirers. And he’s certainly not short of admirers! ^_^ I wish I’d had my camera… And isn’t that *why* we got a little snapshot camera in the first place?
Measly 200-odd words on the “UNTITLED NOVEL PROJECT”. Seems like just writing whatever scenes hit me is working better than trying to force it in a linear motion, though I would like some semblance of order in the long run. Maybe I’ll try flash-card scenes this time, so I can write the individual scenes randomly…
So I finally got myself some brushes/paint/etc. to start trying to oil paint. Figured it’d be cheaper than therapy as a way to relieve stress, lol. Haven’t done much art in a while, and I was chomping at the bit to get going, so yesterday I got to it! This was my first attempt:
The picture is a little blurry, but I couldn’t use a flash. >.< Sorry about that. I was pretty happy with it, considering I’ve never oil-painted before. Still have a ton to learn (like more drastic differences in shadow/more realistic face structure/etc.) but I feel like this first attempt at least gives me hope that I might actually be able to paint more realistic people someday, with a lot of practice. Figure I’ll move on to portraits/full-body portraits next from pictures.
So today, I wanted to give it another go with some different styling. The day before I’d painted one half of the long canvas a reddish-purple, and wanted to try a portrait over it. I was originally shooting to create a likeness of one of my Thief characters, but the colors I selected (going more dramatic this time, to practice shading/face-structure again) and the facial structures (no sketch behind it this time) ended up creating a semi-David-Bowie/vampire look. Still, overall I’m really pretty happy with it. Will have to work on the translation of what’s-in-my-head to what’s-on-the-canvas, but still–for a second attempt, I’m content. ^_^
And for some other random pictures I’ve been meaning to post: Maple-Whiskey Salmon I made a week or two ago, and Mei and Ozzy on our bed.
Also, looks like I’m staying on at work for at least another month! YAY! So mid-January I’ll find out if I’m staying more permanently or if the temp job is going to end. At least I’ve got cash flow for the holiday season! ^_^
Finally finished out the first week of FT employment. Luckily, ended on a high note rather than a low note, as had occurred earlier in the week. I’m hoping we continue this upward trend. I also hope I get more training, so that when people ask me to do things, I can actually help them. That’d be nice. ^_^
Still trying to figure out the whole weekly schedule thing for keeping up on the household stuff. Did managed to get the whole house tidied up, vacuumed, and mopped today, plus got the dishes all done, so hopefully I’m starting off the week on the right foot.
Halloween was actually pretty quiet for us. We still don’t know the area all that well, so we didn’t really know where to go or what to do. We did get candy just in case the neighbor kids decided to come around, but they didn’t–so now I’ve got 2lbs of DumDums. Mmmmm. Yummy! ^_^ We did watch The Ghost and Mr. Chicken yesterday, which was fun. Plus watched Muppet Treasure Island.
So today we went to the Japanese Tea Garden! We’d been meaning to check it out for a while, and since we went to Pinocchio’s and India House for Andy’s birthday, that meant we had to do something for mine. So when we read that this weekend would be warm enough, and sunny enough, we figured we’d better take this opportunity.
It’s a beautiful garden. Really makes me want to study the aesthetic of this style of gardening, because I’d love to have one of my own someday (not this big, naturally, though that’d be dreamy!). Every detail is so carefully thought out–even the rocks laid into the path are deliberate. And everything is so neat and tidy. Made me feel rather slovenly for letting our apartment get so cluttered. (I cleaned when we got back.) Everything was just stunning. My only complaint (which can’t really count, due to its nature) is that I wish I could have been there without the crowds. I don’t suppose that’s really possible, but it felt a little like no one could truly appreciate the garden to its full extent when we’re all moving through.
Andy took lots of pictures at my request, and he did a marvellous job of it too!:
So today, this morning, Andy and I got up and headed over to IKEA to get that bookshelf, and ONLY that bookshelf. But naturally, IKEA being the evil forest of wonderfully cheap (and not so cheap) things, we couldn’t get out with only the bookshelf.
You see, it started with the bookshelf itself. While we were wandering through the shelving area (we managed to get there unscathed, and with some quick manouvering around the weakminded slowpokes who had already succumb to the enchantments that are the IKEA showrooms.), we saw a bookshelf that looked really beautiful. It was in the same wood antique style that our dining room table is, and it was ten dollars cheaper than the bookcase we had originally planned on getting. Hmm. IKEA throws us another twist. We then looked at the bookcase we had come in for and thought immediately: “You know, it looks cheap.” It did. We wandered back to the antiqued bookshelf. Hmm. Yes, we liked it. So we decided, why not? Saves us ten bucks we thought we’d have to spend, AND it looks better. Marvellous.
What made this better, was that we had seen a coffee table (that we would have used as a TV stand) which was in the same wood style. Hmm… It was tempting. But that would be another hundred dollars more than we were planning to spend, and we can live without a nice TV stand. Still, the loans are kicking in soon, which will take care of rent, so we’ll have a little more expendable–No! We fought the urge. However, the enchantments of IKEA were starting to take their hold, and we decided to wander back to the sofa section, just to test out some of the sofas. We do NEED a sofa… And we could put it on the credit card and pay it off little by little… The IKEA fairies whispered in our ears all the sweet logic we needed.
Luckily for us, none of them were comfortable enough to tempt us. Thank goodness! There were a few which were comfortable, and if we grew money trees, we would definitely have considered getting, but as it is, we let them go and felt proud of ourselves for breaking the IKEA spells.
Headed down to “The Marketplace”, where the IKEA geniuses make you walk through all the lovely little “necessities” of life. We found a lamp. “It’s only ten dollars,” the IKEA fairies whispered in our ears. “You already saved ten dollars on the bookshelf. Why not get a small lamp? You could use it for the bedroom so you don’t have to walk through the dark from the door to the bed. Wouldn’t that be nice?” It sounded so charming, we picked one up. Plus the energy-saving, warm-light lightbulbs (luckily very cheap) which make the soft-light effect we wanted for both the new lamp and the floor lamp we already have.
We continued on. Found our aisle and row for the bookshelf. Hauled it toward the check-out. But oh! Just when we’ve almost reached the safety of the check-out line, we notice a sign for “As Is” furniture. Discounts. Oooo.
We wander over. Wouldn’t you know it, but there was one of those coffee table/TV stands we’d been eyeing. Minor dings. Very minor. Much better price. Hmm… “Go on,” the IKEA fairies tittered, their greedy little eyes glittering. “You’ll never get another bargain like this. It’s fate. It’s like it’s been sitting here, lonely, waiting for you. You, and only you.” I was beginning to think these IKEA fairies are similar to the green absinthe fairies of yore. But the words it whispered were tempting. Nay, more than tempting. They were convincing.
At the check-out, another little piece of “fate” engineered by the IKEA geniuses kicked in: Sunday morning before 12, there’s an additional 10% discount on “As Is” furniture. Coincidence? I think not.
At any rate, we escaped that dreaded place with more furniture than we’d anticipated purchasing, but without completely selling our souls to the IKEA geniuses, or the IKEA fairies. And I must say, I’m not even a little angry about the way they manipulated us. I’m glad, because now our living room looks like a living room. It still doesn’t have a couch, but it looks lived in. It looks, actually, a lot like a Japanese living room. I can more than work with that for now.
Also, that cold that has been threatening for the last couple days is hitting home. I blame my weak resistance to IKEA on an overstretched immune system.
So most of you know that yesterday was my twenty-third birthday! Hooray! I’m older now! Many of you may not know that it was also Andy’s first day of Chiropractic school. I drove him in yesterday morning and dropped him off for his orientation (10-4), and then I went grocery shopping for the things I needed to make dinner and my birthday cake. ^_^ For dinner, I wanted to have Vietnamese spring rolls from a recipe my mother has often used. It’s a delicious dish, and I was more than a little pleasantly surprised to find that Walmart actually had everything for it. Crazy! In fact, it’s the only place so far where I’ve found both the rice paper and the bean noodles. Dirt cake is a lot easier to make, so I wasn’t as surprised about finding those ingredients. ^_^
Drove home from there and promptly got cooking. It was strange, but not having Andy around the apartment puts me in a really productive, I need to do things, kind of mood. I can’t just sit around by myself. That’d be boring and not a little pathetic. So I cooked. Got the dirt cake all ready (I was very impressed at my insane cookie-blending skills, considering I have no food processor and had to use only my rolling pin), because it needed to chill for a while. Also cooked up the bean noodles and then the chicken for the spring rolls. Actually, I was really productive and didn’t even sit down to play video games once all day yesterday! Now THAT’S nuts.
Got a bunch of calls from family, which was fun. It’s always nice to hear from you guys. ^_^ I had finished getting everything ready, and had just sat myself down with a pack of Twizzlers to play Zelda when Andy comes home, done with his orientation day 1. Yay! I really missed not seeing him all day. It’s going to be pretty intense over the weeks, since (I believe, from what we know–look for a correction if this ends up being wrong) he’ll be in classes M-F from 7:30am-4 or 5 pm. O.O!! Loooooooong days, but at least he’s studying stuff that will all be useful when he becomes a chiropractor.
After hearing about his orientation, we had dinner, and though he says it was fine, I overcooked the chicken a little. :-\ Ah well, it was still pretty tasty (it was the texture of the chicken that was off a little). Then we had dirt cake, and thankfully that’s almost impossible to mess up. ^_^ It was extra yummy.
Then we, meaning I, opened presents. Andy got me the new Enya CD (which I’ve been drooling over, see below), and a nice bottle of Disaronno, which we haven’t had in far too long. We both had a little of the Di in our tea cups (the white, handless, asian-inspired ones) with icecubes, and it was just marvelous. I also got a fair bit of tinder from other relatives, which I’m very much looking forward to spending without feeling guilty! (It certainly helps that Andy should be getting his financial aide check today which covers living expenses like rent–makes me much less likely to just put the checks in the bank and use them for groceries, which is just not that much fun.) I had pretty much already decided (since I can’t really afford the sofa I want) that I would put some of the money toward a nice bookshelf from Ikea, because I’m ready to put away all the books/DVDs/etc. that have been laying all over the living room floor since we moved in, and because I would feel guilty buying more books only to pile them on the floor in a corner. Then I figured with some of the other $$, I’d buy me and Andy the two print posters we’ve been dying for:
I can get fairly cheap frames for them, and getting those up on the walls will make this place feel a little more lived in. That takes up most of the money, but leaves me with enough for a few books, including *drum roll please* the enormous textbook on Jupiter that I’ve been eyeing for the last few months. It’s a book I really couldn’t buy if I didn’t have gift money, because it’s so expensive, but it looks absolutely fabulous, and actually will help me with writing. YAY! As for the other few books, I haven’t quite decided what I’ll get just yet. I’ve got a couple of ideas, now it’s just narrowing the list down.
To top off my birthday, we watched Desperate Housewives into the evening until we were both so tired (and stiff from sitting on the floor) that we went to bed. Sounds like a great birthday to me! ^_^
Oh! And my interview with poetess Brandy Schwan is up on the Apex Magazine website! She’s a very interesting lady, and a very fine poet. Check it out! There’s also a lot of good short fiction up, so feel free to read those too! ^_^
Andy and I went to Cannon Beach yesterday! Hooray for being outside and getting some relative sun! We headed out about 2:00 (we wanted to be there for the sunset, but have time to walk around/eat/etc.), and arrived at the beach around 4:00. Not too bad! And the drive was very pretty. It reminded me in spots of New England, only bigger.
It was a lovely day spent strolling along the beach, marveling at the iciness of the Pacific (which Andy has never seen before), and admiring the giant rocks sticking up out of the sand. I’ve never seen anything quite like it before, and it was very cool. I was very glad that Andy brought his camera. While we were down by the giant rock, some nice ladies asked if we could take their picture–which of course we did–and then in exchange they took a picture of us together! YAY! Rare footage of the two of us in the same picture! ^_^ Then we poked around the tide pools and looked at nifty little fishies and crabs and such things.
We strolled along for an hour and a half or so, until past five when most of the shops closed. Then we headed back up to the town of Cannon Beach and strolled around looking for a place to grab a relatively inexpensive dinner. After examining the display menus of a few pricey places, we settled on The Local Grill and Scoop. It’s a very cute little place, and the prices were pretty reasonable. Andy had the clam chowder (which he said was excellent), and I had a BLT (a little small, but we were going to have desert anyway, so it wasn’t a problem). Then we ordered a Black and White sundae for desert. It was huuuuuge! O_O Needless to say, we couldn’t finish it, but the waitress said that was common.
It was only about six-thirty then, so we headed back to the beach (which was getting significantly colder, air-wise) and walked along down the other direction toward the other rocks. The tide was out pretty far, so the seagulls were having a blast picking crabs and other assorted sea critters to death for dinner. We also saw jellyfish, which we carefully avoided stepping on.
I think the ice cream went to our heads, because we were being particularly silly, but that was exceptionally fun. Did think I almost died when I stepped into a fast-flowing outflow and felt the sand quickly start to sink beneath me. Needless to say, I jumped right back out again! ^_^ I did manage to knock Andy’s glasses off at one point by accident, but luckily they landed in the sand not six feet away and were fine. Lol.
By the time we got to the other rocks, the sun was getting lower. The moon was coming up, too. We waited down there until the sun really went down and Andy snapped off some amazing shots. Then we started to head back to shore, only to find that we were on something of a sand bar, and the tide was already coming in pretty strong. Uh-oh! Another couple was out there with us, watching the sunset, so we all joined forces to wade through the knee-deep, freezing water to get back to shore. For a moment there, I really thought we might have to swim!
By the time the sun went down, it was very chilly, so we headed back. It’s amazing how beaches always truncate distances. We had to walk for probably about half an hour or more just to get back to where we’d gotten onto the sand.
Then we drove home, and got to see all of Portland lit up at night, with a full moon too! It was absolutely breathtaking. (Didn’t take any pictures of that. Andy’s camera was in the back seat. Sorry. ;_;) We were beat when we got back, so we just washed off our feet and went to bed.
But here are lots of pictures! (They’re not in order, but I haven’t figured out how to stop WordPress from being stupid about galleries yet):