24 December 2010

Something happened on the way to Christmas...

Well, hello.

So... let's not pretend like I haven't posted here in 2 1/2 months. I haven't, and I feel bad about that. But frankly, for the first time since I started this blog, I became so busy that the months of October and November were a total BLUR. We are talking tranny hot mess up in here. The situation was this: towards the end of September, I scheduled my 2nd architectural exam, Site Planning & Design. I already passed Programming, Planning and Practice in August, and I wanted to get another one done before the end of the year. So I scheduled it for the week before Thanksgiving because, you know, everybody checks out mentally in the week of Thanksgiving and starts getting ready for the rest of the holidays.

After that, things got a little crazy.

I knew I had two presentations to give at the beginning of November, two distinct presentations for two distinct audiences, and I fully planned on working those into my normal working hours. Well then I got pulled into a very important, very time-sensitive project at work... and then another project blew up... and then another project got handed to me with a due date of the week after Thanksgiving. Before I knew it, I was working 10-12 hour days and coming home to either work on one of my presentations or to try to study. I did in fact get everything done, but even after giving my big presentations, I had to stretch out my studying until the week before the exam, and then I still had a big project to finish at work. It wasn't pretty, but I took the exam and then poured my effort into that one outstanding final project. Then, on November 22, our client threw us a bone... would we like to work on revisions and resubmit on December 8, with a final submission of December 15?

Heck yes!

And so it was that on Thanksgiving, for the first time in a full two months, I got to relax.

Yes, I am aware that Thanksgiving happened last month and I haven't posted in the month since then. But frankly I got knocked on my tail and after the mess of those two months, I needed to decompress and get ready for the holidays.

And I did, and here I am. And it's DECEMBER. It's 2010. We are just a week away from 2011! What is THAT all about, anyway?!?

They say that time flies when you are having fun... lately I've been thinking that I need to take up a hobby that I hate, because I am having entirely too much fun (knock on wood). Time is FLYING by and I don't know what to make of it. All I know is that I've loved seeing all my friends from Cincinnati while I've been here but I'm also missing Portland and my friends there, and all over, really.

I remember the times when I used to travel all over and see everyone. I can't travel as much as I used to and I have way too many places to visit. I wish I could, though. If you are reading this and you know me, you know that you are welcome to visit me in Portland anytime. And I hope you do!

I have to go to bed now. More philosophizing before the new year comes, I think.



PS. I passed my second exam, BTW. Four more next year! :-O

22 September 2010

Anybody out there?

Hey, did I tell you about the time that they turned Pioneer Courthouse Square in Downtown Portland into a giant sandbox?

pioneer-sandbox1

No? It was pretty awesome. I mean, come on. Look at these things... it took all I had to restrain myself from jumping on them...

pioneer-sandbox2

How about the time that they shut down half of the blocks in NW Portland so that they could have a road bike race? No? It was pretty intense... especially when the crash happened about 25 feet away from me. Thankfully everyone walked away...

portlandCriterium2010

How could Summer have come and gone so quickly?

31 August 2010

Houseguests galore

I keep complaining that September has come so quickly, but the truth of the matter is, if I lived my life like I lived this August, the years would simply FLY by.

I promised you much better news than the stories that I told in my last blog post, and I am here to deliver on that promise. A week after my first houseguest, Patricia, left, and I took my first ARE, I bought a new bike, courtesy of my Mother, for my birthday present. Have a look... this is Daisy, so named because she is flowery but also because she is the hotness, like Daisy Dukes. Also, Daisy will not be going anywhere without at least two locks at all times.

Daisy

Later that same week, another houseguest arrived, and then the real fun started. Katie came into town to attend the Lady Gaga concert in Portland with me but we decided to have my housewarming party on the same weekend. I did not take too many pictures of the group of 10 girls that went to the Lady Gaga concert, but if I did I certainly wouldn't put them online. Instead I will simply post this one image from the concert and you will have to trust me when I say that Gaga is down there somewhere.

lady-gaga

My housewarming party was a small, lively affair that involved homemade donuts, jello shots, and grilling at 11 pm. Good times. Katie and I rounded out the weekend with a pub crawl, hosted by my friends at PDX Pub Crawl. Again, you'll just have to believe me when I say it was fun, because I have no photos that will be going on the Internets from this one.

Originally that was going to be pretty much all I had to tell you, but August had to go out with a bang, just like it came in. I have one last houseguest to tell you about...

The entire month, a little adorable cat has started living underneath of the deck outside my front door. He cries and shows up when I come home at night and when I leave in the morning, and I'd pet him, and that would be the end of it. Until today, when it started raining, and I decided I couldn't take this situation anymore. So I took him to the vet, and as it turns out, he is NOT chipped, so he does not belong to anyone, but he IS neutered; he is also young and healthy. What I'm trying to say is that now I have a houseguest, who has four legs, and is adorable, until I can get him in at the Humane Society. I have no intentions of keeping him, however, I do have to name him... I can't have a houseguest without a name!

Eddie?

If you have any thoughts on names for this adorable boy, please let me know. It seems that The Universe has given him to me for now, but we'll see if this is where he is meant to stay...

23 August 2010

Oh, August

Oh look, another blog post! I will now explain why you are so lucky as to get two blog posts in one month:

As soon as August started, I should have known that it was going to be one big punch in the face. When August 1st rolled around, I was already on Day 3 of what turned out to be a 4-day migraine. The doctor thought I might be having a "rebound" migraine... I really didn't care what it was, I just wanted it to go away. Fortunately I was able to function with the help of migraine medicine, but still... it was annoying.

Then I went on a business trip, and then I came back and promptly managed to get my bike stolen. It was this one, the one I had named Daphne:


Well, Daphne my bike seems to have been as troubled as Daphne the Greek Goddess... first her bike computer got stolen, then her back light got stolen, and finally some punk-jerk swiped her whole frame except for the front wheel. With the frame went those nice fenders, back rack, a cute LED blinking light, and my lightning-shaped reflectors. It pretty much sucked.

Three days after my bike got stolen, I got a borrowed bike, and with my friend Patricia, used my old bike Darcy to ride 26 miles of the Providence Bridge Pedal. Aside from a slightly annoying change in route, it was super awesome, and the best part is still riding your bike on the highway bridges. Here's a view on the iconic St. John's Bridge:


We went to brunch and then Bite of Oregon after the Bridge Pedal to see Brian Boitano cook. He apparently has a TV show called "What Would Brian Boitano Cook?" which I think is just hilarious:


Later that same day, after the Bridge Pedal, while just WALKING, I proceeded to sprain my ankle. Again, not helpful.

There have been other challenges for sure, like getting my washer/dryer unit fixed but not really, as well as giving up an entire weekend to study for my first ARE and then taking it. But since then, things have been looking up. I don't want to give away all the goods so I will save the good parts of the month for another blog post. Three blog posts in one month! Amazing!

11 August 2010

Why yes, I did change the blog's layout.

I am going to skip the part where I apologize to you for not blogging in nearly 6 weeks. I have had a very tiring summer but promise to do better and I am going to start by announcing the following:

YES, I have changed the format of my blog. I think it was due for an overhaul, don't you? I like it. Change is good.

Now I will tell you about some fun that I had attending the Portland Highland Games a few weekends ago. Lots of cities have Highland Games but I had never been before, and I found out about Portland's just in time to attend. The day started off with some true overcast Portland/Scottish skies, but then the clouds disappeared and I got sunburnt. Yes, sunburnt. At the Highland Games in Portland! Good times.

The sky was still cloudy for the beginning of the Kilted Mile Race. I think this should be an Olympic sport.

This is the Simon Fraser University Pipe and Drum band, from Vancouver, BC. Also known as the World Champions!!!

This is my souvenir from the day. Celtic Mist air freshener for my car. Enough said.

30 June 2010

Lack of brunch is making me cranky

It has been way too long since I had brunch, or blogged, or blogged about brunch for that matter. In fact, tomorrow is July and I can barely remember what I've been doing since April. I know that I went to Vancouver, BC; I moved into a new apartment; I went to my company's spring party; and I saw the Reds play in Seattle. Still, I promised more blogs about brunch so I'm going to start there and work my way back through recent history at a later date.

Little Red Bike Cafe

Two things make this a bittersweet post:
  1. The person with whom I attended the Little Red Bike Cafe was the Creeper I mentioned in a previous post.
  2. Little Red Bike Cafe is no longer open. In a sad turn of events, they were forced to close due to disputes with their landlord. No word on when they might be back but check the blog and go if you can because...
...from what I can remember, when I wasn't being creeped out, LRBC made me a delicious brunch. Observe:


(I don't remember the name of this but yummm)

Quality of food: 4.0
Quality of coffee: 4.0
Service: 2.5
Atmosphere: 4.5
Overall value: 3.75

LRBC, while it was open, was a lovely little institution in North Portland. I would have described it as scrappy but earnest, which is reflected in the lower service score (since it was an order-at-the-counter-and-serve-yourself kind of place) but higher atmosphere score (since it was jostling with customers from all walks of life). It's a little hard for me to remember since I was trying to focus on eating my food whilst being stared at, but I do remember the potato pancake/hash sort of thing, shown in the above photo under the salmon, as being particularly delicious.

And frankly that's about it. Sorry this isn't more descriptive but I don't want to get your hopes up about a place that isn't open anymore. I promise my next post will be about a brunch place that is still open, and which will serve you a ridiculous amount of food.

11 June 2010

Loss / Gain

(Cross posted with my other blog)

Dear readers, I apologize for my absence over the majority of the past month. My life, since my 100th post, has devolved into what can only be described as a hot mess. There are several very interesting things that I thought about and wanted to share with you, but I could not muster the time or the energy to do so. Things are starting to calm down and I think I will find that time soon, but for now I want to share some thoughts about the state of my life, and of the world in general.
  1. I was engulfed by “all-hands” company meetings. Although it was a mad rush to get ready for the meetings, I loved it and it was neat to see all the people that I work with in one place. It was also great to hear that the things that I think are so important are important to the people that I work with as well. 300+ people working towards a higher cause is a pretty powerful thing. (Net Gain: Emily + Western U.S.)
  2. I found an apartment and I’m moving. It all happened very quickly but it took me about 5 minutes to decide that I wanted the place… it’s lovely and spacious and has so much character. I feel really lucky to have found such a great apartment just in time for summer – it’s effectively been 3 years since I had a home in a neighborhood of my choosing, in a city that I feel comfortable in. So obviously, that’s been a process. (Net Gain: Emily)
  3. I’m house-sitting for some very attention-starved animals, one of which I am allergic to. I love animals and for the past year I have lived in an apartment in a house with a dog and two cats. I am house-sitting in this same house while the owners are away. One of the cats got attacked a few weeks ago, so he is recovered at an undisclosed location; as a result, the dog and the other cat have been following almost my every move in the house. And as much as I like the cat, I am allergic to him! So it is hard, especially considering the move. But I am really going to miss the dog. (Net Loss: Emily’s 4-legged roommates)
  4. Which brings me to the oily, ruined Gulf of Mexico. Referring, of course, to my love of animals as stated above, what really gets me about this mess is the animals that are being killed as a result. Not just turtles anymore, but birds, fish, the entire ecosystem. And as a result of the loss of part of the food chain, people’s livelihoods are being completely obliterated. I am so disgusted and saddened by the situation, that I have – frighteningly – been rendered numb. After all, what can I do? What can YOU do? We can only sit back and watch as the oil keeps coming out, and beaches keep closing, and more and more ecosystems are destroyed. It’s totally overwhelming. I feel, truly, that the best thing I can do is to keep doing my job, and to do the best job I can, so that I can help improve energy efficiency in buildings and hopefully reduce our dependence on oil. (Net Loss: Humanity, The Earth, dolphins, etc.)
  5. “Privatize the Losses, Socialize the Gains”. Speaking of losses and gains, someone recently told me that there was a movement afoot to push this type of economic system in our country. And I have to express how dispiriting I think this is. I am overcome lately with the sheer number of people who are not doing what they are supposed to be doing, so many of whom are trying to take advantage of others, game the system, or flat out cause this country to fail. BP, Goldman Sachs, Halliburton, nearly every politician running for office this year…. It’s exhausting. I am amazed that anyone can even watch the news anymore. I can only watch fake news on Comedy Central and even there, I sometimes can’t handle it. So, that’s a little bit of where I’m at right now. (Net Loss: my sanity)
Anyway. That’s where I’m at. I will try to get back to you sooner, rather than later. Good luck everyone…

10 May 2010

Crazy people, and brunch at Mother's

Almost three years ago now, I started this blog as a way to keep in touch with family and friends as I made my way across the country and into grad school. I started off the blog - humbly, but enthusiastically - by writing about brunch, which I consider to be the best meal of any day. I wrote about every brunch I could get my hands on in Cincinnati before I skipped town, and I was joined by friends, and now one of those friends has a blog where she writes about brunch, lunch, breakfast, dinner and every meal in between. Liz's get in mah belly is an enormous local success and I shed a nostalgic tear every time I think of the good - and the utterly ridiculous - brunches she and I shared together that last summer before I left.


Liz, on the other side of delicious brunch

Three years later, and I no longer live in Cincinnati. I'm now in Portland, after getting my graduate degree in Los Angeles, and one thing has remained constant these past few years: my love of brunch.

Well, let me clarify that... actually, two things have been constant these past few years:
  1. My love of brunch
  2. Crazy people
My goodness, there are a lot of crazy people on the West Coast! How did this happen, anyway? Why do you think there is such an intense concentration of crazies in this particular time zone? I couldn't tell you, but what I can say is that they are out there, and I have had the dis/pleasure of experiencing them in a whole host of ways:
  • My favorite crazy person was, hands down, the gas-mask wearing individual who sat down next to me on the bus a number of months ago. It was a "vintage" gas mask, olive with solid metal fittings, and he sat down as calmly as anyone would sit on a bus. Except he sat next to me, and what I should have done was ask him what the plan was, or if I should be worried. What I DID do was laugh uncontrollably. I mean like shoulders-shaking, I-can't-get-enough-breath laughter. Oh and naturally I posted this all on Facebook in t-minus 5 seconds.
  • My least favorite crazy person - who shall remain nameless (you know who you are, Creeper) - was the one who sat there and stared at me while I ate my brunch recently. I actually found this less offensive than the homeless guy who laid down in the middle of the street outside while trying to lure people in so he could mug them. Seriously though, what kind of a nimwit accepts an invitation to brunch, drives 40 minutes, and then doesn't eat brunch?!? But stares at you while you do?!? Anyway.
With that thought, I would like to announce my intention to start blogging about brunch again. I've resolved to go each week to a new place in Portland, even if I have to go by myself, to try all the good ones out. I've found that I get seated sooner if I'm alone anyway, so this works out well for me. First up...

Mother's Bar and Bistro

I think it's appropriate that I start off by talking about brunch at Mother's the day after Mother's Day... even though I went a few weeks ago :o)


(Image courtesy of mmm-yoso.typepad.com. This is obviously a staged photo since Mother's is never this empty.)

I don't really feel like I need to say a lot about Mother's. It's a Portland institution, and every time I walk past it, there's about 80 people waiting outside for a table. Everyone knows about it, and that's because it's damn good. Observe (refer to brunch scale here):
Quality of food: 4.5
Quality of coffee: 4.0
Service: 4.0
Atmosphere: 4.5
Overall value: 4.25
The best part about my visit to Mother's was, I arrived by myself, walked straight past the 80 people waiting for a table, and got a seat straight away at the bar. There, I proceeded to make friends with some very nice, and not crazy, strangers. And the food was delightful! I can't remember what I ate because I was too busy talking about Project Runway, but it was some sort of scramble, and I ate every last bit of it.

My future brunch reviews from Portland will be much more scientific, less vague, and will involve pictures. Until then, Crazy People stay back!!! I'm on a mission for brunch and I won't be intimidated by your staring and sidewalk ranting...

23 April 2010

Words to live by.

I have this quote posted on Facebook page. After a recent purge of my page - due to Facebook changing its privacy settings again, and me being sick of it - this is one of the only things left on there. I'm not sure if Nelson Mandela actually said this, but if he did, it proves that he is a wise and wonderful person. I think it is worth repeating. Believe it!

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightening about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just some of us; it is everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." -Nelson Mandela

Now go forth and be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous!

18 April 2010

Oh look, I have a blog

I'm feeling a little sheepish because of the following:
  1. I apparently made some promises (re: blogging MORE and generally being more interesting) that I couldn't keep.
  2. In my previous post, I broke Internet Rule #1 which is, don't post pictures of yourself all over the Internet. (I will be fixing that)
Regarding #1 above, I had a good reason for not writing: it's because I was busy trying to finish this darned knitted beret that conquered my free time over the past month and a half. Pretty much every spare 15 minutes I had on the bus or sitting in front of the TV were spent working on this. Have a look:


Since it's a beret, it required me bumping up, or "increasing" the number of stitches from the amount that I started with. On the underside here, you can see the alternating knits and purls that create the stretchy opening band.


This is a view of the top of the hat. You can see the "decreasing" ribs that take the hat down from the bulky 156 stitches that form the majority of the middle section to just a few at the very top.
(Sorry for the terrible photo quality. I'm away from my good camera at the moment and the lighting was terrible.)


This is probably the best picture of the hat and how I intend to wear it, plus it shows the color more accurately, which is much more pinky-violet with hints of other colors, than the salmon it appears in the above photos. (Also this photos does not violate Internet Rule #1 - it's discreet).

So, anyway, this is exciting. I can't say with any certainty that my posts will increase back up to their previous, "glamorous" levels of perhaps 10 per month, but you can be sure that the number of hats I knit is going up...

23 March 2010

Happy post-St. Patrick's Day 2010

I like how I said I was going to try to be more interesting this month, and then I realized it was time for St. Patrick's Day again, and my best intentions went out the window. Anyway.

It was a lovely holiday this year, not the BEST weather but not totally disgusting outside either. It didn't matter much once I got inside the tent at Kells Portland though... the tent was HUGE! And it had a stage where the bagpipers ended up. Well you should probably just look at the photos:


This was the first bagpipe group to play. They paraded onto the floor, played there for a while, and then moved up to the stage, as you might be able to see in my next photo.


This was the second bagpiper band. Wow, these guys were AWESOME. Especially that guy on the end that looks like Patrick Stewart going on a safari. He was the MC. They were great.


I almost forgot to insert this picture. Probably because I was drinking that wine at the time I was writing this post.

OK, until the next time I have something of little value to say, ta.

06 March 2010

Television. Sigh.

People have been asking me a lot lately if I watch such-and-such a show. The answer is almost universally "no." I'll give you an example:

Friend A: "Do you watch LOST?"

Me: "No."

Friend A: "How could you not watch LOST!?! It's the best show EVER!!!"

Me: "Listen, I didn't say it wasn't a good show or that I've NEVER watched it. I just don't watch it now. I don't have time for it."

And so on. Lack of time to live my life is the primary reason that I don't follow most shows, actually, because although LOST may be a perfectly good show, I know people who do watch it, and get worked up over it, and how much time is, ahem, lost in that whole situation? I used to be an X-Files fan, I know how it goes. So, yes, I know The Simpsons is a great show, but I've only seen about 10 episodes out of its 20-year run; I know Family Guy is hilarious but also makes me cringe sometimes, so I rarely bother; and likewise I like the premise and the gist of The Office but I can't watch people embarrass themselves, no matter how funny it may be.

Which is not to say that I don't enjoy television at all. I watch one nerdy show (NCIS), one hilarious and brilliant show (The Daily Show), and one fabulous show (Project Runway). I will occasionally watch some sporting events and god help me if I start watching the Discovery Channel because I'm unlikely to stop watching it willingly. I like to think that most of what I watch is kind of "smart."

... Until I admit that I will probably watch the next season of Dancing With the Stars. I'll even admit that I think I watched the first full season of this show until, again, my life got in the way and I forgot to care. But it's dancing. And you get to dress up. And on the next season of DWTS, I will be watching specifically for these two dudes:

Me and @EvanLysacek on Twitpic
via @OGOchoCinco's Twitter page

In other words, I want to see how my favorite football player and a gold-medal Olympian do. I will call it "The Tale of Ochocinco and the Flying Hipster Guido". Chad Ochocinco (formerly Johnson), love him or hate him, just likes to have a good time, and I'm interested to see if his wide variety of end-zone moves show up on the dance floor. Even Lysacek ... well he's kind of a curious one, isn't he? I think he confuses me because he might be straight! AND he looks like a combination of a hipster and a guido, which makes my head hurt and it makes me giggle.

So, in conclusion: no judging. Let's all just watch our respective shows and then get on with our lives, shall we? :o)

21 February 2010

A (Mini) Existential Crisis

I have studied buildings formally for eight years of my life now. I have been in the field of building design for the last 13 years. It has always been a professional goal of mine to become a licensed architect.

But now, at this point in my life, I'm not so sure anymore.

I STILL believe that being a licensed architect would be the culmination of my studies. I STILL believe that it would lend me a certain level of authority that I cannot claim without it. And yes, I STILL would like to pass my exams and get that stamp. I'm just not sure if I want to do it RIGHT NOW.

There are several reasons why trying to take my exams this year (and probably next) seem like an attractive option: I just got out of grad school, this stuff is still fresh in my mind, I have the money to do it, it would be nice to put those letters on my business cards...

...er, IS it fresh in my mind? DO I have the money? And do I NEED those letters on my business cards?

Frankly, now I'm working for a company in which being a licensed architect is not necessarily value added. I am the only trained architect in a company of over 300, a good portion of which are professional engineers, which is necessary for our work. Consulting is only part of our business, but it IS a part. Designing buildings is not. I am valuable to my company because of my building science knowledge, of which there is currently no meaningful certification.

Despite all that, it was still a personal goal of mine, so I was pursuing it... until I started to feel like I was being ripped off. Getting your architecture license involves the following:
  1. Being a member of NCARB who administers your records for $60 a year;
  2. Paying to have NCARB send your record to a state;
  3. Applying to the state to accept your record;
  4. Paying the state up to $100 to apply;
  5. Having the state send your approval to a testing agency;
  6. Paying at least $200 to the testing agency to take your first four - or six - hour exam;
  7. THEN paying at least $200 each to take each of SIX additional four or six hour exams;
  8. After you get your license, there's the fees you pay to join the AIA, the fee you pay to get your stamp, the fees you pay to take continuing education credits, and other fees that I'm probably unaware of.
To become a professional engineer, you have to do the following:
  1. Pay $20 a year to maintain your records;
  2. Take one day-long exam (let's assume it costs at least $200);
  3. Put the letters P.E. behind your name and move on with your life.
Soooo... I guess what I'm saying is, if this isn't necessarily value added to my company, why would I bother putting myself through this right now? Maybe I'm wrong and maybe my boss will tell me they want that, and if so, I guess I could put out the money for it, but that's a lot of dough to dish out for something that I won't necessarily be using anytime soon. And maybe if they DO want it, they can help me pay for it, which would be nice and a motivator. I really like my job, and I feel fortunate to be with the company I am with, so I'm willing to go the extra mile for them.

But this red tape I have to wade through is a real de-motivator. Especially when I feel like, "what have all these groups done for me lately? The profession is dying, unemployment among architects may be 50% and they don't even have an aggressive stance on green building, and I'm supposed to want to be a part of this group? And pay out the wazoo for it? WHY?"

Anyway, if anyone has an opinion on my mini-existential crisis, please leave a comment below. I could use the input and I love second opinions!

16 February 2010

The Situation

So, I need to talk about television for just a moment.

I don't watch much TV. Obviously I watch NCIS, and the Daily Show, and I also watch Project Runway (which, thankfully, is better this season than last). But I was recently informed that I was missing out on an important cultural phenomenon, and that is Jersey Shore.

It's not worth talking about really. It's 100% ridiculous. But there are some quotes from the show I need to share:
  • "The Situation said we had a situation here"
  • "I will cut your hair in your sleep"
  • "Look, I got HAM!!!"
  • (bleep) (bleep) bleepity (bleep)
  • And my personal favorite: "I don't want to work at a T-SHIRT SHOP. I'm a bartender, I do GREAT THINGS"
It's really funny. And YES, I am watching this on the internet instead of watching the Olympics on real TV. Oh come on, like you don't think Men's Figure Skating is played out, too?

PS. I just figured out that you can guido-yourself up on MTV.com here. Go, go now...

07 February 2010

Being gainfully employed is rather boring, no?

I was just reading some of my old posts from when I was unemployed - and just doing whatever the heck I wanted - last summer. Before that, I was in graduate school, and that was kind of interesting, I mean, enough so that I felt the need to start a whole other blog to talk to a new audience about it. But now?

Now, when people ask me how I'm doing, it goes like this:

Other Person: "So, how are things? What are you up to?"

Me: "I'm really busy at work! Other than that, not much"

... and that's pretty much the end of the conversation. No more fun stories about how I spent my day differently than the day before, because no two days are alike when you don't have someplace to go.

Yes friends, I'm gainfully employed and I'm boring.

Which is not to say that I don't love what I'm doing - I totally do, and I'm so happy with my job. It's just that all of the interesting stuff gets funneled into either my other blog or my work, and that's fine too.

A more interesting conversation, I have to say, starts when someone asks me what I actually do. My response is a jumbled mess that starts off with explaining how I am a "trained architect" without a license ("architect with a little 'a'") but I am now practicing the fine art of "building science" with an energy efficiency company. The inevitable "what's building science?" question comes next, and then I usually have to mention my Master's Degree, and I hate sounding like that. This conversation happened earlier today with a guy I had never met before and he paused and wryly said, "so you're impressive, then?" ... and I don't know if I blushed, but I said thanks and kept drinking my beer.

So, it's February and I've just realized how few posts I've been making since I got a job, and I've decided to make an effort to be more interesting. I mean, I'll do the best I can, which means I might go from 3 posts a month to 4, but at least that's one a week. And they will be interesting! Starting with now...

~~~~~

One of my goals this year is to become an adept enough knitter that I can do scarves and hats. Scarves are pretty much as easy as it gets... you knit on straight needles, back and forth, until you get a long knitted thing. Hats require more effort, but they are fun because they can happen on round needles. The tricky part comes when you have to switch to double pointed, and it gets a little ridiculous for an hour or however long it takes to finish the hat, but the result is worth it.

This is my first ever knitted hat ... I completed it recently for a birthday gift for a friend. Not bad for a starter hat, but I had some trouble at the end, so I switched to a crochet hook and just kind of took care of it.


Apologies for the poor photo quality, I've recently become a little too attached to the camera on my iPhone.


I plan to keep knitting until making a hat is like second nature, and then later, if I'm feeling REALLY crazy, I might try ... gloves! The final frontier is sweaters, which are just ridiculous.

Maybe this year I will even make it to crocheting! Whoa, I know, that's a little much but it's good to have goals, LOL.

26 January 2010

Life on the 45th Parallel

Um, yeah. I realize I haven't posted in a while, but frankly I just didn't feel like posting. I've been tired, really busy, and honestly a bit down. But I'm doing better now and I've taken a few pictures that I thought I might share.

Portland sits just above the 45th parallel, which is exactly half-way between the North Pole and the Equator. This, of course, makes for lots of darkness in the late fall and early winter, and lots of light in the summer (can't wait!). Following are a few photos from my adventures straddling this imaginary line on the map...

New Year's Eve was a lot of fun ... we went to a huge 80's dance party, and the songs were accompanied by their videos on giant screens around the hall, which mostly I remembered from when MTV actually played music videos.


The capitol of Oregon is Salem, just south of the 45th parallel (what is that, a couple of "minutes" or what?). Anyway, that big gold statue on the top of the tower is, in fact, called "The Gold Man", and although he looks to be a reasonable height, I was informed that he actually stands 6 feet tall - at the knees! That is one big Gold Man.


The main hall of the capitol is decorated with beautiful murals depicting Oregon's history. I think this one is about Lewis & Clark ... I should probably know these things, eh?


We went skiing at a place called Hoodoo in the Cascades southeast of Salem, a couple of weekends after I first visited the capitol. This photo is taken mid-slope, and through the trees you can see Mt. Washington. Several mountains in the Cascades were named after Presidents - Mt. Jefferson, Mt. Adams, Mt. Washington - but we're pretty sure there was never a President named "Rainier" or "Hood".


Here I am, in my Bearcat colors, at the summit of the Hoodoo ski resort. Shortly after this picture was taken, I went down what was called an "easy" hill at approximately 5 mph because one side of it was a giant cliff that went right off the side of the mountain. Uh, no thanks!


It's been starting to get much lighter in the morning and afternoon lately, which is a relief for sure. I can't wait until it's light at 9 o'clock at night!

12 January 2010

We're Number 1, alright

Sorry, again, for not regaling you with stories of my misadventures here in the Pacific Northwest. Often I think of something I want to write about and it ends up over there at my OTHER, more public blog. More stories to come soon, especially after I go skiing, which should be hilarious.

In the meantime, have a look at these links, which talk about how lonely it is to be an architect right now ... especially in Los Angeles.
  1. Exhibit A: The 9 professions that saw most job losses in 2009 ... and Architects are at the top of that list. Well, frankly we had to expect this one. If you're in the architecture industry and you DON'T know someone who was laid off in 2009, consider yourself an endangered species. I know so many people that are unemployed I started hosting their portfolios on my Web site. Or at least offering to. Also it's probably worth mentioning that while I *am* employed, I am not working at an architecture firm. And that's fine with me.
  2. Exhibit B: Los Angeles is the number one city in the country for job losses. ... Whoa. Now that's a distinction that nobody wants. And according to that article from LA's local NBC affiliate, 62% of locals are "sad" about that news. Well yeah, I guess so ...
In other words, if you're an architect, good luck, and maybe consider other options for living besides LA.