Monday, July 25, 2016

This blog has moved

Having gotten tired of Blogger's limitations, I've moved this blog over to Wordpress. Same name, same content, new design. Come visit me there, and thanks for your visit here.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Coming home

A year ago yesterday, I moved out of the southern Portland suburbs and into the far northern reaches of what I guess could be called Portland's ruburbia (does anyone still use that term?).

It was quite a change for me, and one that I was hesitant to make.

I grew up in suburbia, and grew less and less enchanted with it as I got older. My ex-husband and I moved to Baltimore in 2005? 2007? Somewhere in there, anyway. That was the moment I realized I really am a city girl at heart.

From that aspect, moving to Portland was an easy choice. I fell in love with the city, and it's a small enough city that I don't feel intimidated like I do in larger cities. Even DC is too big for me.

And even though I was living in the Portland suburbs, we were close enough to Portland proper that the city felt like it was home.

What I am not and never had been was a small-town girl, a country girl. That, plus the distance from Portland, from my friends, made me hesitant to make this move.

But a year later, I am oh so glad I did.

The area I live in is beautiful. We have a view of the Columbia River out our back windows. It's quiet and peaceful, and in this year I've needed that quiet and peace to heal from a lifetime of struggle.

I was particularly hesitant to make this move because Roy & I had been together for so short a time. It was putting a lot on a relatively new relationship for me to uproot and move in.

But I am oh so glad I did.

I'm adjusting to being far away from everything - well, except for St Helens and Scappoose. I'm getting used to small town life. I'm getting used to driving for a long time to get to Portland.

And as the city I love goes through some severe growing pains, it's kind of nice to have some distance between it and me.  This small town feels safer, more comfortable.

This is home now.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Olympic National Park

I'm so far behind on posting about things that have been going on, so I'm going to start with a trip we took in June.

I was having such bad anxiety leading up to the anniversary of Jay's death that I said to Roy one evening that it would be nice to be out of town between 6/1 and 6/6 (between death day and birthday). We'd been watching the Ken Burns National Parks series, which had inspired us to want to travel to more of them. So bless him - he set up a trip to Olympic National Park, which was a park neither of us had been to.

We started our road trip on June 1st, driving up I-5 and eventually onto 101, which road eventually led us through the hamlet of Humptulips, which led to a lot of giggling.

We stayed in Quinault, WA at the Lake Quinault Lodge. Ironically, that was right down the road from where Jay had spent so much time at the Rain Forest Writers Retreat, which made it all a little bittersweet. But that was OK.

On 6/2, our first full day there, we drove on South Shore Road, which led around the southern perimeter of Lake Quinault and long the Quinault River.

On the second day, we drove up 101 to the Hoh Rain Forest (link to Google Maps), which we didn't hike in because we timed things badly and were both ready for lunch when we got there (and there was no place to eat). So we kept driving until we go to the town of Forks, where we had lunch and wandered around a bit.

The coast along that piece of 101 is very wild - by that I mean, it's natural and not built-up like the east coast beaches I grew up with. A lot of it looked like this:

We also stopped along the way to see the biggest spruce, which had been mowed down by lightning on Roy's & my birthday in 2014 (yes, we share a birthday - aren't we just too cute?), as well as the biggest cedar.

On 6/4, it was beastly hot, so we drove up to Ocean Shores to enjoy the cool ocean air. We parked for a little while on the beach itself, where I was lucky that the dead sea lion on the sands wasn't visible to me, although the guy that came up and took a tooth from the corpse certainly was. People make me wonder ...

One the way back from the beach, we stopped in Aberdeen to visit the Aberdeen Museum of History, which is an eclectic little museum, but fascinating. Of course, it had an exhibit about Kurt Cobain, but most of the contents were about the founding and development of the town. This is my favorite picture of the ones we took there:

Never let it be said that I don't want to undermine the government and wreck the nation.

I also introduced Roy to the experience that is the Star Wars Shop, which is a can't-miss stop in Aberdeen.

Our last day there was so hot, we didn't do much more than admire the view from the back of the lodge.

A good trip, all the way around.