Portland/Oregon


At last! After months of being too busy to do anything for myself, due to moving/reviewing/outside projects/etc./etc., I’ve finally had my first RELAXING Saturday! It’s a micro miracle, I tell you. In the past, I’ve always made Saturdays “My Day,” meaning I can do whatever I want, even if it’s just lay around on the floor and stare at a wall ALL DAY LONG. And I can’t feel guilty about it. I can’t worry about all the other things I have to get done in the upcoming days. I can’t make myself feel bad that I haven’t been productive. There’s only one rule, and that’s “If you want to, great, if not, don’t.” It’s one of the few ways I can keep my hectic schedule under control and give myself time to relax.

So this Saturday was officially the first relaxing one I’ve had in so long I can’t remember. And I wasn’t totally unproductive either! Here’s what we did:

1. We got coffee and an almond-poppyseed muffin for breakfast.

2. I watched an episode of Project Runway; Andy surfed the web.

3. I finished the rough draft of “A Night of Dreams in the Windswept Forest”–YAY!; Andy dropped off our electronic donations at Free Geek.

4. Had a great lunch out with Kaku & his fam, which was a lot of fun, and I think we’ve just found our new favorite little restaurant for buffalo wings!

5. I watched another episode of Project Runway; Andy went to City Bikes to get what he needed to replace the brakes on his roadbike.

6. I painted!; Andy replaced the brakes on his bike.

7. We watched Miyazaki’s “Ponyo”: It was okay, but far and away not his best work. Give me “Totoro” any day for a movie that reminds me of what childhood is like.

8. We went to Powell’s and I got two books! A) Writing Down the Bones, by Natalie Goldberg; B) The Wind’s Twelve Quarters, by Ursula K. LeGuin.

9. We went to Rogue for a pint of Dead Guy.

10. We ate 11PM pizza and watched an episode of Chuck.

Now that’s what I call a great day! :-D

Total word count since 7/23/10: 1,369

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It’s official: Andy and I are looking for a new place, and we just may have found one. We’ve been idly chatting about upgrading our living quarters at some point since we’ll be in the PDX area for at least another year, and the feral cats under the tub and loud, angry/virile neighbors upstairs are starting to get a little old. PLUS, there’s the added bonus of Andy having a job, and thus, bringing in a second income. For a small, two-parent furmly such as ours, we can now afford to live a little better than we’ve been required to in the past two years.

So a few weeks ago, we started seriously discussing the option of moving. We’ve looked at a few apartments, but the second one we saw really caught us, and I think we’ve made up our minds for sure. It’s a studio apartment down in the South Waterfront, which is a pretty swanky furmly area of Portland on the river. It’s still relatively new and much of it is still (quietly) under construction. After the developers discovered that condos weren’t going as fast as they’d hoped (they built these places right before the Mighty Recession), they converted a bunch of them into apartments, which means the deals are good. Which is great, because they’re awesome apartments, and Andy and I can’t afford a condo (nor do we need one, what with Andy’s plans for med-school)! ^_^

Let me be brief so you can get to the pictures of our “new place”: It’s in the Ardea. Inside the Ardea looks like a Hollister store without the heavily perfumed clothes and SoCal rock/pop in the background. Think: dim, edgy lighting; giant murals of attractive people living the high life; and the feeling of being a little out-classed by the young, unmarried, well-dressed, BMW/Audi/Jaguar/Aston Martin/Porsche/Ferrari-driving residents. Our place is on the 28th floor, right under the penthouse (where they hold yoga classes 3x a week). It’s nearly the same square-footage as our current apartment, but with higher ceilings and wide open spaces that make it feel bigger. Comes with a washer/dryer, gas stove (thank gooooooodness!), built-in microwave, walk-in closets, and–oh!–a really, really deep tub.

It’s swanky! And in our price-range, can you believe it?! :-D

Why can’t the move-in-date be tomorrow?

*For reference: “Furmly” = 2 parent families with no children and just adored, doted-upon pets.

So here are the afore-promised pictures from our trip to the beach on Sunday. Didn’t get a whole lot of writing done (which was the plan), or submissions done (which were finished up today), but it was a great trip and a lot of fun. 

Andy is not a daywalker, so he hung out in his tent most of the time. I think he got more work done that way, though. ^_^ 

Finished the latest batch of novel submissions today, which was good. That was something I was going to work on Sunday, also, but the beach beckoned, and how could I refuse to heed its call?

OH! Almost forgot: Apex’s Community Board is now up and running! I’m already making a general nuisance of myself, so do feel free to drop by. ^_^

Writing Stuff:

Two from-the-top attempts at Chapter 2 for the “UNTITLED NOVEL PROJECT”. Decided I need to go back to the drawing board in order to establish the kind of confidence in this sequence I need. Got some stuff in mind, will see how it goes. Changed the WTDL to reflect the need to spend some time planning.

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”:

SurrenderMonkeyFallsUnimpressed_SMF

 

 

 

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.

SouthFalls

erosionchimney

 

 

 

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. 

Lower South FallsLowerSouthFalls2

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. ^_^

Kitty_Screen

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?

I was going to begin this entry with a lengthy, nose-to-dirt grovel session for being so bad at updating lately, but then I decided not to. Truth of the matter is, things have been going well, but I’ve been super busy with rather everyday, mundane things you probably wouldn’t care much to hear about. So until I have more time, I’m just going to do a quick running pros/cons list, plus the writing stuff at the bottom, par usual, in order to keep me accountable to what I do and do not get done. ^_^

This weekend:

+ + Cleaned the house. Much needed. I would post the video I took of it “before” and then do another for “after”, but it was seriously awful, and no one deserves to see that enshrined on the Internet for all eternity.

+ Hung out with Kaku! YAY! We’ve all been so busy, it seems like time to hang out just slips through the cracks. But not this weekend! Walked around Mt. Tabor in Portland (+), had a shoe-throwing contest which was sorely weighted (one of us has extreme shoe-throwing skills) (+), ate Little Caesar’s pizza (+), watched “Steamboy” (-), and played some Halo (+, always). 

+/- Minus, because I wrote 1000 words of Chapter 17 for “Thief Dilemma” only to realize I couldn’t use any of them. Plus, because it made me realize what I *actually* needed to do for this chapter, and because I got a fresh, usable 1000 done today at lunch.

+ Did minor grocery shopping. We’re trying to maintain damage-control for our arbitrary April budget. 

+ Changed bank account over to Oregon, at last. 

– Didn’t get any painting in.

+ Hung two of my paintings (see “House of Mirth” and “We Are–All of Us–Robots”) on the walls, and they look good there!

– Didn’t finish backlog of Apex submissions.

+ Did get through a huge batch. Hoping to close the gap over this week, and dive into more recent submissions. Finally reorganized my day planning to make more time.

+ Write Nite is awesome, and I get a lot of work done!

= (+8) vs. (-2) = +6. A Good, Productive Weekend ^_^

Writing Stuff: (more…)

And the weekend is over again. It flies by so fast these days. Ah well, at least it was a good one! 

Naturally, this week contained the infamous Valentine’s Day, and Andy and I decided to take a drive down Route 14 on the Washington side of the Columbia River Valley. It was stunning. Moss, trees, tunnels, enormous rocks jutting out of the ground, steep drop-offs, the clouds swirling around the looming, snow-frosted hills–amazing. Naturally, we forgot the camera. ^_-

We also junked out on candy and pizza and watched Jason Bourne kick the crap out of various undercover agents in The Bourne Ultimatum. Very fun. Lots of explosions! ^_^ 

Oh! And I got an easel. A proper, standing easel! And it was 40% off, which is SUH-WEEEET. 

Sunday commenced in the usual way: breakfast out at Pig N’ Pancake (yes, the name is awful), and then grocery shopping at Winco. After that, I did some painting, which is still a work in progress, because it’s a lot more complicated than my last few attempts. I definitely still have the problem of making the models (in this case, myself) more attractive than they are in real life. Mrs. Pepper, my high school art teacher, once called me out on this, but I just can’t seem to help it. Ah well, one of these days I’ll get hard-core realist on your butts, and then we’ll see who wishes I didn’t polish up that little flaw! But then again, it’ll be hard-core realist, so it’ll actually look better. Ah well–it’s a conundrum. 

We also finished off Season 3 of Earl, which means no more Earl until #4 comes out. ;_; That makes us sad. But until then, we will just have to root around for other TV shows to watch obsessively. ^_^ 

Writing Stuff:

Continued on the path today. Only had a 1/2 hour lunch, so I got only ~400 words done, but it was still steady progress. I had a bit of a scare yesterday–my computer randomly decided not to turn on. O_O Luckily, it was just some funny logic problem in the computer’s brain (yes, I realize I’m very technical), and we got it back on without too much trouble. But for about ten minutes there I think I was having a mini heart-attack. I mean, sure, I save compulsively, but that doesn’t do any good if the computer itself craps out on you! And yes, once it got back online, I immediately grabbed my thumb-drive and hauled serious wordage over to it, just as a back up. 

*Phew.*

Crisis averted.

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