Category: Places I Love

Insights into the mind of a Current Beach Bum at Heart.

Hey Everyone!

Today was a very busy day.

Today I went to the beach. I have been wanting to go back to the beach for ages, well pretty much since I got home from my past trip back in March.

It was somehow decided yesterday, that at least my mom would be taking some of her longtime friends from Canada to the coast today, and taking them to the Tillamook Creamery (aka the Tillamook Cheese Factory). The cheese factory has been in the process of being remodeled over the course of the past year or two, and it finally reopened a couple weeks ago. It was crazy busy there today, which was good for business and for the community. I fell in love with Tillamook County a fews years ago. I love the smaller coastal towns that look a lot like they did when my mom was a kid. With the decline of fishing and logging being the primary year round employers many of these communities are relying more and more on tourism. With the summer tourist season as well as those who come out in the winter for storm watching, tourism is a big deal.

In more recent years I have opted away from the larger towns and small cities, opting for the smaller towns that really are struggling more. These larger towns are trying to hard to be more like California beach towns or Coney Island. Many of these towns are becoming rather yuppie, catering to a demographic with more money. These smaller towns are still such that your average person fits it. There are way more mom and pop shops that I love to support. Some towns have farmers markets on the weekends, have train rides that are pulled by a steam locomotive and so much more besides spending so much time on the beach. They still feel like they have that slower pace of life, where you can slow down, relax and drink a cup of coffee or tea on the porch on a summer morning while watching and listening to the ocean. Later that day after wandering around the cute little shops, grabbing food at one of the local restaurants, gotten ice cream for dessert its time to hit the beach before roasting hotdogs over a fire. That evening as the sun is going down, there is nothing like going for a walk, banking up the fire, roasting marshmallows to make s’mores while the sun sinks lower and lower into the ocean until it finally dips into the ocean. Then it’s time to fully extinguish the fire (with water) and head to bed to start it all over again in the morning.

Today was raised be of those perfect beach days. It was cool and overcast all day, it drizzled a little bit but it really didn’t rain on our parade. The most rain we saw was when we were driving back over the mountains this evening. We were there long enough that we beat the rush hour traffic coming back.

It wasn’t super cold either. It was cool enough but there was a little warmth in the air. Enough to definitely warrant putting on sunblock. I will find out in the morning if I really do have a slight sunburn or not, because I didn’t reapply sunblock while I was out, before going down on the beach. I am hoping I just feel a little warm from being outside much of the day.

I really like what they did with the cheese factory, while it was super busy and I really didn’t get to go at a slower speed to take it all in, one of the biggest take away from today was the fact that they hung signs in where they actually make the cheese about what is going on where and they have better displays explaining the cheese making process.

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Where My Heart is At.

Hey Everyone!

This week has been pretty busy, and I have spent a fair amount of time in the car going on adventures in the Valley, which I have been documenting and sharing with you all over the past few days.

This morning I had to run some stuff down to Polk County, for a friend of mine. This is the second time this week I have left the counties that encompass the metro area.

While I was in Polk County, I had gone back to where I had attended college. Part of me still kinda (just a little bit) misses living there, but at the same time, I have come to terms with the fact that that particular chapter of my life is over and it is time to move on and have new adventures and see where life takes me. It’s time to call someplace else home. I still love that area, and I left a piece of my heart there, and it will always have a place in my heart – being the first place I really considered home, It’s now time to find a job someplace else and a new small town call home.

The other day I had driven through Mt. Angel on my way home and had hit it at a bad time for stopping by the Catholic Church for pictures. This church is particularly pretty. I am not Catholic, but I do love the architecture of these older churches.

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I had made it a point today to stop by on my way home since I was going to be passing through the area earlier in the day. Beings there is a school across the street, that was letting out the other day when I was there, it wasn’t the best timing on my part. Beings as I was passing through Mt. Angel between Noon and 12:30 pm today, it worked out well to stop and get some pictures.

Like I mentioned earlier in this post, this week has been busy, and I have been on the go pretty much all week. Between that, being off my regular schedule and consuming more caffeine than I am used to (including two lattes and an energy drink in addition to my normal amounts of tea over the course of the week), I am exhausted.  I would not trade the activities I have been doing or the adventures I have been on this week for anything.

I have come to love small towns in the heart of the agriculture and timber areas in this part of the country. The city is a fun place to visit and go do stuff on occasion. I am more at home and at ease with a bit more elbow room, where I have the room to garden and not have other houses and neighbors right up on my space.

I have been fortunate that I have always had what I needed and some of what I have wanted. As I have gotten older, part of my disdain for the city, and city life is seeing how wasteful people are and how many people have a sense of entitlement while their neighbors and others living in the city are struggling to have the basic necessities. I know there are people in this city who work so hard, and work multiple jobs and are unable to make ends meet. Yet I see people throw out good food just because they don’t want to eat it, or it might not be their favorite thing. Food costs money, money doesn’t grow on trees. It infuriates me to see people being so wasteful. I am not exempt from this, there are times when I have been wasteful, especially when I was younger. The more I have struggled with unemployment, and making due with what little I have had, and have, has really been an eye-opener to me. This is part of why I am choosing to live a simpler life, and not spend money on things I don’t need, or will only watch, wear, or use once then move on. I have no real desire to become a true minimalist, as I do want a home of my own and be able to have more than just a tiny home, but I also don’t want much more than I really need. I don’t want a bazillion things that only have one function, or to only be able to make one thing that I rarely make. Especially when it comes to kitchen gadgets and such, what I want in my kitchen will have to have more than one function, or at least be something that I (or others in my future family) would use regularly (like a waffle iron or a coffee pot). While I would love to have a stand mixer, I don’t need all the extra add-ons that only have one function that I wouldn’t use all that often. The stand mixer in and of itself (and a few of the mixer heads/blades) would be something I would use regularly.

In many ways I am so glad I live in the 21st Century, with indoor plumbing, and modern feminine hygiene products, and so much more, but there is something to be said for the older ways of life, where kids grew up learning the value of hard work, and helping others, contributing to society, and more practical skills (like how to fix things that are broken).

 

Content with Small Town and Country Life

Content with Small Town and Country Life

Hey Everyone!

The past three weeks have been pretty busy, with the ladies retreat, and preparing for that as well the Rend Collective Concert last weekend, family coming to town to visit, and then Easter this past weekend.

There have definitely been a couple of times where I just needed to get out of the city,  and kind of regroup before throwing myself back into the city life.

I grew up in the city, so it was what I knew until I went to college. Even then it never really felt like home or that I belonged here, I just never knew why. I went to college in a small town, and it hit me like a ton of bricks as to why the city life never felt right or normal to me.

I came back to the city after college because of not having a job lined up in the small towns I was in and around, so I was forced back. The past eight years have been all about trying to find a long term job, and figuring out who I am, and all that kind of stuff.

While I have been figuring out who I am, the whole finding a job thing has been a bust, and hasn’t happened. Which has lead me to really consider moving, and looking for work in other parts of the country. Life doesn’t always work out the way you would hope it would. Dreams change as people grow and change.

I have been really trying to make a better life for myself, and live a simpler more meaningful life. Not being someone who is in the High Tech, IT, Medical, or Outdoor Wear, or Craft Beer fields, I haven’t found a place to fit in here, and have not had the opportunity to get my foot in the door on a career here, since there are so many other people who are unemployed and underemployed from the recession who have more experience in the “entry – level” fields than I do. So that has really push me to seriously consider moving someplace else to at least have a job. In addition to that, I would love to have new places to go exploring and hiking in.

As I have gotten older, the city life, and the increasing influx of people has been wearing on me. It has helped me to realize who I am, and the type of life I want to live, and that is a simpler life, away from the constant hubbub and traffic of the city. It has taught me what I am capable of, and that is more than I ever though I was. It has taught me that I am tougher, stronger, and more self sufficient than I thought. There is more to life than putting up with a life you hate, just because it is familiar. A life that has meaning and purpose is a life worth working hard for and fighting for.

Moving???

Hey Everyone!

This past weekend was pretty busy.

Friday Night I had gone “Home” for Pizza night at church, and Sunday I went back down for church.

I am actually excited for March to be here. While I am not wishing my life away, I just have some plans in the works that I am excited about.

I am also ready for the days to be a little bit warmer (like 58 – 62 degrees Fahrenheit would be perfect), so I can get back outside and do some more exploring and adventures.

I have known that Portland isn’t for me, for years. I am ready to move on, find a job some place new and have some new adventures and experiences.

While I am still figuring out where it is I am headed, and while I am still in this part of the State / country, I am wanting to go on a few more adventures here while I still have the chance.

Between having been sick, and the weather not being super conducive to outdoor adventures, I have been working on my knitting projects. I have a couple triangle shawls in the works as well as always having some socks going. The latest pair of socks I am working on, I decided to break out one of the pretty colors of yarn to work with.

While I am further along on this sock than I was when I took this picture, this is the color I am working with.

Last week I did go out on a mini adventure to just get out of the house for a little bit and out of the city limits. I stopped by an old Pioneer Church and rustic / historic cabin (both are on the same property). I enjoy going out on this drive. I love that the country is so close, and not that far of a drive to get to.

Last Time going to the Beach….

Hey Everyone!

I have been trying to write a blog post a day on this blog, yesterday it just didn’t happen.

The eventful things that happened yesterday were getting my Clinique order in the mail and finishing up a pair of socks.

Today was a busy day, it started out by getting up earlier than normal and getting out of the house early (for me anyway), so I could get gas in my car, stop at Cost Plus World Market to look for stocking stuffers, and then stop at target to pick up a couple items before I left town for a few hours.

I had been paying attention to the weather forecasts for a few days and they were calling for some nice days, with sunny skies and comfortable (for this time of year) temperatures. I have been itching to go to the beach for a while. I have missed it so much, and the past couple years I had gone a good half a dozen or more times each year, so the three times I had gone this year just wasn’t cutting it. Beings the weather was supposed to be perfect at the beach today (and it was), I went. I had also wanted to go one last time while I am in my 20’s. Once this month is over, I will no longer be in my 20’s. I realize the beach won’t change that much between this past summer and this next summer, but I will be in a new decade of my life, and want to close out this decade by doing stuff I enjoy doing.

After I got home, I got things put away, I showered, got some dinner, and then successfully started my latest pair of socks. That’s a story for a post on my Knitting blog. So now I am back to working on another pair of socks.

Always been Outdoorsy

Hey Everyone!

Today was a perfect day at the beach! It was sunny, windy, but not super cold, and the wind kept it from being too hot. It would have been a perfect day for this using solar and wind energy. 


My allergies were so much better at the beach, as was my comfort level. I was running around without a jacket and perfectly comfortable. 

I have always loved the beach and ocean. It has always felt more like home than the city. 

I have always felt better at the beach, between the fresh salty sea air, being outdoors a lot. Unless it’s raining, whenever I have stayed at the beach, I have spent more time outside than inside. 

Preferring to be outdoors, even when not at the beach is something I  have loved. Many of my favorite memories have included being outdoors. Whether it was ice fishing for lingcod in Canada in the winter, or hiking in the woods, or exploring an old left to ruins Fort, or being at the beach or sitting around a campfire on a summer evening (which is made better at the beach), or just being outside on a summer evening. 

It’s typically the blustery, cold, wet days that I prefer being indoors cooking, baking, knitting, curled up with a good book. 

The beach is my preference, the one place I love out of everywhere I have been, it is the one place I am truly a happy camper. 

Breaking out of the Insulated Bubble

Hey Everyone!

I know I have talked about wanting to move away from the City, and if I have the opportunity I would. At the same time, in exploring other parts of Portland I have found other neighborhoods that feel like home. The neighborhoods that feel more like home for me are the neighborhoods that were traditionally working class family neighborhoods from the mid 1940’s –  1960’s. I know I had a very insulated childhood in a nice neighborhood, and lived a different kind of life than I prefer to live now. As a kid I was very mainstream yet insulted life. Choosing to live more a life that is based on eating more naturally, knowing where my food comes from, how it was raised / grown, and all in all a more Portland lifestyle has been something that didn’t happen over night. The seeds were planted and started taking root while I was in college. It took off after I developed food intolerances. It doesn’t help that our food has been changed and altered so much since my grandparents were raising my parents. 

Looking back at the past few years I can see how much I have changed, and I finally feel like I can see everything coming together and the direction I am supposed to be going. 

I had an interview today for a job I feel would be a good fit for me, and something I would excel at. I have to wait a few days to find out if I get it out not. 

Future Possibilities 

Hey Everyone! 

The past week or so has been crazy, with family coming to visit, and stuff.

Overnight a storm rolled in, which took out power to many parts of the city, so I am writing this on my phone while I am waiting for the power to come back on. 

Amid the craziness, I feel like I have a direction career wise to work toward. It does involve going back to school and getting a second bachelors degree. My first Bachelors degree wouldn’t be wasted even with getting a second one. Getting the second one would hopefully allow me to tie both together in a career and be able to use both. The second degree I am looking at pursuing, is on the surface and in many ways very different than my first bachelors degree, but those who know me would see how they would both work together in my case. Until I know for sure that I am going back to school and moving, i don’t want to talk too much about it, but I just wanted to share with you all what’s on the radar. 

While there are parts of the Portland Lifestyle and culture that I love, I have known for a good decade that big city life isn’t for me. If it works out to go back to school, I would live in a city 1/4 the size of the city I live in now, and from there I hope to move to a small town or smaller. I know it would be harder with the whole food intolerances thing, but dairy free alternatives and Bob’s Red Mill flours can all be ordered, and a garden can be grown. I would totally make it work, and it would be worth it to live in a small town, and get away from the big city. 

I would also be outdoors more and get to use all my knit wears that I have been working on for the last few years. That also would be amazing. 

The PNW is in my Blood

Hey Everyone!

Yesterday I finally got back outside again, and had gone back down to Silver Falls State Park again yesterday. It was raining off and on the whole trip down, even hailing as I was almost there. It let up pretty quickly so I could enjoy being there. 


I went for a short hike while I was there, I’m guessing about a mile / mile and a half. Hiking back up the canyon was tough since I haven’t been hiking for a while. It felt good though to be outside and be hiking. It is one of those things I love to do. 

I love living in this part of the country, but the cost of living and the economy here, has been such that I feel like I need to be looking else where and other states to find a job I can support myself on. I would be lucky to find a job out here that I can support myself on, that also is not stuck at a desk, in an office 40+ hours a week. There is so much more to life for me than being stuck at a computer for 40 hours a day. If I could find a way to support myself here, doing what I love doing, I would stay in the area. 

There are so many amazing small towns that are outside of the Metro area, that are still close enough to come to the city to go to the mall if I wanted to, which is not super often from my experience in college (at best about once a term or once every 3 months). Portland is also a fun city to explore. There are so many amazing / funky / hipster / portlandia / very Portland coffee shops, tea shops and bakeries – including my favorite which is Gluten Free and Vegan. There are also plenty of small, locally owned, Yarn stores that carry many amazing brands (and quite a few local brands) of yarn. Portland is also a very outdoorsy city. In and around the metro area there are many parks, regional parks and places to go Hiking. Mt Hood is within about an hour and a half’s drive, Multnomah Falls is less than an hour away, you can be at the beach within a couple of hours. 

This part of the country has a great climate for growing produce. Not only for eating fresh, but also for preserving. We grow a lot of berries out here, as well as pears, peaches (I’ll take Oregon peaches over Georgia Peaches any day), apples and cherries, among other things. Being able to make homemade jam and home canned peaches, pears, cherries, pie cherries, apple sauce, and garlic dill pickles, is one of my favorite things to do in the summer and autumn. 

Even though I prefer small town life to living in the city, there are definitely ways where having lived in Portland definitely shows. While I don’t really ascribe to the hipster mentality and lifestyle, the fact that Portland is a strong hold for that ways of life, means that it is so much easier for someone like me, who can’t eat dairy, limits my gluten consumption, and is trying to live a more natural life, for my own health and well being is pretty great. 

You could definitely say I am a product of where I grew up, as I have loved living here. I am trying to enjoy what time I have left here. In trying to further my career I may have to move somewhere else, because of better job opportunities. 

Finally Piecing it Together

Hey Everyone!

In many ways I feel like my life has been standing still, yet so much has been changing. For so long I wondered what my purpose and calling were. In the past year, I finally feel like I have been given a call and purpose. 

I graduated from college with no real plan and no job lined up, and it was scary, a little over a year after I graduated from college I went to New York, on my own, and it was definitely was one of those growing experiences. It really helped me to grow, and that when I know something is right for me, I can’t let fear hold me back. If I had let fear get the best of me, I know I wouldn’t be who I am today. 

I have known for years I am not a city girl. I may know how to navigate the city, but the fast paced lifestyle isn’t for me.

Over the course of the past couple of years, I have begun to see that who I am, the outdoorsy girl who loves the ocean, hiking and pretty much everything the Pacific Northwest has to offer, is OK, and who I am supposed to be. This part of the country is my home and where my roots are. While I love exploring and seeing new places, there is nothing like getting back home.