Saturday, January 17, 2015

Segway Portland

About a year and a half ago I saw a groupon for a segway tour of Portland.  Since we already know that we love to segway I thought that would be a terrific date idea and I bought 2 of them.  Then I went and got concussed on that hike and it was a while before I was ready for our tour.  I worried that the weather would have changed but it turned out to be a perfect day.  The leaves were all sorts of beautiful colors and the temperatures were perfect.  We got to segway all through the downtown, around Portland State University, along the river, over a bridge, along the other side of the river, and back over another bridge.  It was seriously fantastic.


The kids were all sorts of jealous.  What they didn’t know was that we had asked whether the triplets were old enough and big enough to ride a segway because we thought that would be a fun group birthday present this year while Jason was home from college.

Here are some pictures and video from that day.

First the kids had to be taught how to ride the segways, then they got to practice in a square around a fountain.  Jenna was scared in the beginning but after a while they were all confident.


For the tour with the kids we skipped the university, but we still got to go by the Portland Loo, a public bathroom in a greenspace downtown.

We went by several bubblers, public water fountains that were designed and built long ago and are still in use. 
When we went down to the river we passed an apartment building that had a moat around it. 
We had a great view of all of the bridges.
We also passed the smallest park in the world.  Seriously.
When our tour was over we got to ride our segways around a parking garage while the tour guide was putting the first few away and settling up with Russ.  We decided that the cool Portland tour was just a bonus—they were equally fun in the parking garage.
I don’t know when or where our next segway tour will be, but I’m sure there will be one!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Foggy morning

I got up this morning at 6:30, approximately 4 hours too early for my NyQuilled and still-recovering self, to drive through the fog with rush hour traffic to take Josh to the airport. I felt just one step better than death warmed over. After dropping Josh off I found a McDonalds and got both breakfast and a coke, hoping that one or the other would help me feel better and make it home safely. Then I headed up to Marine Dr because the traffic was terrible on 84. IMG_0444p

The fog hadn't been too bad through Portland or at the airport but it was thick and dense up by the river, and me without my GPS. IMG_0452p

Nothing that i could see looked familiar, perhaps because i couldn't actually see anything. I circled around the port of Portland several times before I got ahold of Russ so that he could "blonde star" me back to somewhere familiar. IMG_0457p

When I came through the pass and over the top of the hill looking towards Beaverton and Hillsboro the sun was shining, the sky was almost blue and I could see a white blanket of fog sitting on top of everything. IMG_0468p

By the time I got to Hillsboro I was back in it... Amazing how that can happen so quickly. IMG_0478pIMG_0471p

I went by Intel to pick up my van and leave Russ's car. I hasn't wanted to take my van to the airport since it'd had a flat tire (#3 in as many months, and no this is not my happy voice!!) yesterday afternoon and still had the temporary tire on. I took it straight to Costco and sat down to read the only thing I had found in the van--wired magazine. After a few minutes the tire tech called to tell me that actually I didn't need my tire fixed, I needed both of my front tires (less than 2 years old) replaced. He asked me to walk back around the building so that he could show me what he was talking about, but I declined. He could tell how upset I was, and ended up charging me the warranty price instead of the full price for new tires. Good business on his part. IMG_0495

I didn't get back home till after noon. Still feeling crappy, totally exhausted. I'm going to take a nap now. A very, very long one.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

A Tale of Christmas Woe

This morning when we woke up (at the lovely hour of 9:30) and assembled for Christmas presents a small box was thrust in my hands and I was instructed that I needed to open it first. I opened it and saw this inside.


I looked at this strange (and obviously refrigerated) sight and asked, perplexed, what on earth it was. I was informed that this was something from my Christmas list: a sewing ham. (There is a needle threaded with green thread stuck into the slice of ham.) After laughing I did what any protein loving person would have done--I took the needle, stuck it in the flap of the box, and ate the ham. I set the box down in the entry to be thrown away.

Later Josh went and let Tiger in the house. After she came into the entry we could tell that she was eating something. We couldn't tell what she would be eating, and then Josh realized--she had smelled the ham on the box and was eating the thread that had been sitting on the ham! We all ran to grab Tiger and save her from ingesting the needle, which by this point was hanging just a few inches from her mouth. She ran and hid under the stairs but eventually the kids got her. And THEN they had to pull the thread back out of Tiger's mouth (and points beyond).

Poor Tiger. But we are pleased to report that the cat did NOT eat a needle today.

And that one day soon I'm getting a sewing ham. ;)

sewing ham

Monday, December 22, 2014


Funerals are such an interesting contrast.  A combination of what is sometimes the very saddest event (the loss of a loved one), and what is often the very happiest event.  (Seeing so many people that you love.)  Fortunately Grandma’s funeral wasn’t terribly sad because she has been so unhealthy for so many years and we were grateful that she didn’t suffer.  So we were able to really enjoy getting having everyone together for the first time in a long time.

It was the first time in forever that we had all of our kids together in the van.  I was surprised at how joyful it felt to be together like that.



I’ve always felt so lucky that I married into such a wonderful family.  Here are all of the grandchildren, spouses, and great grandchildren.


The whole group—everyone was there except for a granddaughter and a granddaughter in law who were both pregnant and on bedrest.


Sunday, December 14, 2014

Part 4b: Operation Survive the Portland Winter

Once I had decided to go to Miami I knew that there was no way I was going to get that close to Durham and not spend a couple of days there as well.  It was more than a little ironic that I ended up flying into a huge rainstorm in Durham while Russ & the kids were enjoying lots of sunshine in Oregon!


As the plane was descending into RDU an almost overpowering wave of homesickness swept over me.  All I could think was how beautiful it looked.


I’ve spent a lot of the last 2.5 years telling myself how grateful I am that Oregon is green like North Carolina is.  And Oregon is green.  But not, not at all, like North Carolina.  I’d forgotten that there is always the feeling that North Carolina is just about to grow right over you.  I’d forgotten the feeling of narrow roads framed by tall deciduous trees, of yards filled with enormous azalea bushes.  


I’d forgotten just how beautiful it all was. 

(I’d forgotten how gross cockroaches are too, but I wasn’t at all sad about that!)


My North Carolina plans were these: a weekend with Alisyn, Ann, and Nancy at the beach, framed on both ends by lunch with Mindy and Nancy.  (How did I live all of those years without ever eating at the Q shack??  I know the answer, but still—so sad!!)


We ended up in a little condo at the east end of Ocean Isle.  Not the best location, but we could see the ocean and it was comfortable.  Nancy had hurt her knee so rested in the condo, but Ann, Alisyn, and I had fun walking around.  Though we didn’t feel entirely comfortable with some of the decorations or rules.


The east ends of these E-W barrier islands are all eroding, and a whole row of houses has been lost or is in danger.  I’d been told by a friend that there were sandbags the size of volkswagons, but that didn’t prepare me for the reality of the situation. 


Just in case you can’t see how big those are, look again.  They were huge!


It wasn’t as green as Miami or as warm as Miami, but it was still beautiful and soothing to my soul.


Two whole days of ocean and conversation was such a treat.  We laughed like crazy and talked about all of our problems.  We ate good food and too much chocolate.  We went to church at the local small town ward which was very entertaining.  (Ethnic cleansing, anyone?  Favorite prophets?)

The next morning we sadly packed up and drove back to Durham. 


It was such a treat to me that the poppies were blooming along the interstate.  I always loved the flowers growing alone the roads in NC and have missed that.


My last escape from the Oregon winter (though it turned out that the Oregon winter had already ended in an unusual turn of events) was decidedly a success.  I returned home tired but so very happy.

P.S.  True love is carrying a dozen boberry biscuits across the country to your kids!


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Bonus time with Kate

Even though we were sad that Grandma died, we were tickled pink to get extra time with Kate in November.  Every time we some to visit she’s doing something new and even cuter than the time before.  Last spring Jenna spent and extra week with Cindy Lynn and Kate bonded with “Neh-Nah.”  This time when we went back up to Bountiful for the viewing we left Rachel to spend two extra days with Kate.  Now Kate thinks “Ray-Ray” is just as cool as “Neh-Neh.”