Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Final Countdown #3

#5:  Vancouver, BC
Ok, this isn't Portland, Oregon or even the USA for that matter but I loved that Portland was so close to these cool destinations that were so different from anywhere we'd been before.  I loved that while we lived here we could say, "what do we want to do this weekend?" and Vancouver {or other close destinations} could be our answer.  Plus, they lit the Olympic Torch in my honor so they earned their spot on my coveted list!

#4:  The Neighborhoods
From The Pearl to Nob Hill to Multnomah Village to SE Hawthorne to Mississippi - there is no shortage of food, beer, coffee, shopping and weird in Portland.  And we did our best to experience it ALL.  There are a lot of favorite "places" in these neighborhoods but more than anything I grew to love the overall Portland vibe. 

So many things to say about this photo but a great example of the Portland vibe!

#3:  Food.
A few of our favorite restaurants out here:

#2:  Sharing This Place!
One big lesson that we've learned while being a plane ride away from "home," is that it truly isn't where you are but who you're with.  It's cliche, I know, but it's always that much more fun when we can share the interesting things we find with the people we love.  And, because, our family and friends love us so much we were able to share a lot with them on many visits from "home!"

#1: Our Time.
I've said it a lot throughout the last year but there is no way that I would have rather spent my first year of marriage than across the country with only my husband.  There are truly no words to describe how much fun it has been to have this time to build our family and our relationship.  When we both talked through our countdown this was BOTH of our number one reason for loving Portland.  My mom used to always tell me to "bloom where I am planted" and I would say that we have lived that fully in Portland, OR!

This is our ad for Oregon... the photo makes me laugh {what are we looking at?}!

We'll see you on the road this week.  Coast to coast udpates coming soon!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Final Countdown #2.

Maybe it was the strange men packing boxes in my house that reminded me that I really do have to leave this place so I should finish our countdown...

#8:  Wine!
Shocking, right?  But really there is some great Pinot Noir out here and even better scenery on your way to find it.  We have thoroughly enjoyed immersing ourselves in the wine culture that exists in Willamette Valley (to the extent our budget will allow).  A few of our favorites:
  1. Archery Summit
  2. Dobbes Family Estate
  3. The Four Graces
  4. Bergstrom

#7 Powell's Books
I'm going to borrow the explanation of Powell's Books from Wikipedia as I'm not sure I can explain it better myself:

Powell's headquarters, dubbed Powell's City of Books, claims to be the largest independent new and used bookstore in the world.  Powell's City of Books is located in the Pearl District on the edge of downtown, and occupies a full city block, between NW 10th and 11th Avenues and between W. Burnside and NW Couch Streets. It contains over 68,000 square feet, about 1.6 acres of retail floor space.

In short, you can get lost in there.  And we have.  On many occasions.

#6: Hiking!
This has kind of been a love / hate relationship for me but I'm siding more with the love now that my leg is finally healing!  Our favorite hike was to Neahkanie Mountain.  In Portland, the hikes are endless and the payoff priceless!

More later.  CHEERS!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Final Countdown.

So, my intention was to post our Top 10 everyday for the last ten days we are here but moving is stressful and now I will need to post multiple times for a few days so here we go.

First, a caveat; the Top 10 is really not in a specific order because, well, that's just too hard.  We decided that we can't really rank our love for Oregon!

#10:  The Mountains!
We love the mountains that surround this town and mean this very specifically.  The peaks here seemingly appear out of nowhere.  You can be out on a drive and - BAM - there is Mt. Hood.  Their ability to appear ever so carefully to quickly put you right in your place is unlike anything I have ever experienced.  Andy says it best when he recently explained his love for Mt. Hood!

Mt. Hood is my favorite peak because it plays hard to get.  If I could see it every morning, two minutes into my drive to work, it wouldn't have the same appeal.  Mt. Hood is like that great new song on the radio that you only hear maybe once a week - it doesn't get old because your chances to experience it are few and far between.  I've been up to Timberline Lodge three times - halfway up the mountain - and each time, the summit was not visible.  Mt.  Hood reminds me on a regular basis that my opportunities to view it, like our days in Portland, are limited and I need to savor every one.

#9:  IPA / IIPA / BEER!
We've enjoyed a lot of microbrews while in Portland due to them having more microbreweries than any other city in the country!   But we took our Top 10 list seriously when we recently had our own IPA Challenge.  We bought bottles of our favorite IPAs from Portland / the Portland area and blind tested them to find our favorite. Here are a few that made the final round:
  1. Laurelwood's Workhorse IPA
  2. Lucky Lab Super Dog
The IPA Challenge!

Andy enjoying a Workhorse!


Monday, July 11, 2011

I Fall Down.

Those close to me know this fact to be true.  I am clumsy.  I fall down.  Sometimes I walk around weddings for quite some time thinking I look good only to find out my dress is in my underwear and I have mooned the entire reception (yes, this is something that actually happened to me).  The weird thing about when I fall down is that I always seem to wipe out at the very moment that I'm feeling euphoric.  Ok, not the very moment, but in more general terms when things are going great, you know a fall is not far behind.  And when I say that, I kind of mean figuratively but I also mean literally.

My point... I wrote last time about how in love with this place I am.  I went on and on ad nauseum about the mountains and views and wine and beer and then I went on a hike and I fell.

It started out like this....

I would love to end this post with some inspirational message about how we all fall down sometimes.  I would love to tell you that the fall came on the way to the summit and that I kept climbing.  But the truth is I laid down on the scorned rock, took off my jacket and worked on my tan while Andy kept climbing.

I think that's ok though because I'm still just a hiker in training and every bit of a journey, even the falls, can provide a bit of perspective.

Ok, it ended like this... 
How mad am I?  I am also 100% certain the guy behind me thinks I'm an AWFUL hiker!

Me and my war wound!

Finally, we are loading up and leaving this joint in 19 days and we have decided to do a Top 10 Favorite Things in Oregon List on the blog so stay tuned.  I can't make too many promises but there might be a "guest blogger" involved whose name starts with an 'A' and ends with a Wendling!


Friday, July 1, 2011

In Love.

I've fallen in love before in my life but never like this.  I love a city.  A rainy dreary city.  It brings me weird highs - like the other day we could see Mt. Hood, Mt. St Helens and Mt. Adams all from our neighborhood.  I was so high, I needed more immediately - "Andy, circle the block again!"  So high that I couldn't remember to take a picture.

When people come to visit I'm annoying and I know it.  I say ridiculous things like "my town neighbors the town where Nike is, can you believe that?"  No one is ever as impressed as I am.  I joke that I take my computer just outside their campus when I'm short of ideas because I'm certain marketing ideas float through the air surrounding that place.  Few people think the joke is as funny as I do.

But when you're in love you want to share it, you want to spread the euphoric feeling and we did just that this last week with a visit from Andy's parents. 

We showed them the wine, the beer, the food, the Gorge, the mountains, Canada (because Portland is so close that you can just make a quick trip there!) and more wine and beer and food and views!

In the end love comes your way when you're ready for it and the truth is that maybe I love this place because I love my life and the love is just contagious!  (I promise to not be on such a high for my next post but at least I'm not so strug this week!)

And last but certainly not least... The designated area to pick your nose in Canada.... or a shhhh sign :)!
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