Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Summer Reading Favorites

I feel more settled this week. I came up with a new self-schedule. I like routine during the week. What can I say? I'm getting up at 5 every morning, which means bed time is 9:30 at the latest. However, I haven't gotten to bed before 10 p.m. yet. That's OK. In the mornings, I'm running on MWF and writing on TuTh. Today was the first writing day. It was really nice to start the morning (after a hot bath and a kettle of tea) by sitting at my kitchen table watching the sun rise in my back yard and basking in the fresh unknown of a new writing project.

And despite all of the non-routine and craziness of packing and unpacking and running around, it has also been a good summer for reading. So far.

And it's strange to say "so far" because back home, summer is almost over. School starts the first or second week of August, while we have until late September.

That's fine with me, because I'll keep reading!

Right now I'm finishing up the last book in the Across the Universe series by Beth Revis. I'd heard a ton about the series on YouTube, but it didn't sound amazing to me. Too sci-fi for me, maybe. But it's not. The main character, Amy is so relatable. She basically reacts to everything like YOU would if you were frozen on a spaceship for hundreds of years and woken up to discover that things we're necessarily going as planned. It's AWESOME.

Another one of my favorite books so far this summer has been The Whispering Muse by Sjón, who I didn't know much about before I started reading. Turns out he writes songs for Björk. Figures. The short novel has great stories and beautiful writing. You want to read it. Promise.

Monday, July 29, 2013


A day in downtown Portland:

Sunday, July 28, 2013


I sighed when I got home from work this Friday. It was a strange feeling to know that a week ago I was gazing at this more empty space for the first time, excited about filling it with our things and making it our own. One week later, magically, it is that. And it is wonderful. We just completed our very first "home improvement" project: fixing the front gate so that Boone can stay out in the yard while we're inside the house. The house's owner, our landlord, lives in Australia, so we'll be in charge of these kinds of improvements, which feels nice. Anyway, here it is!

Fergie, my flamingo, lives outside now.

Front yard wilderness.

Living room typical.

Above our fire place!

Living room TV.

Dining room.


Big kitchen window.

Happy kitchen things!

Hallway. Big mirror.



Aaron's closet in our bedroom.

Living room. The fan was our first purchase. A must.

MY closet in MY room!

This is the converted garage, which has the washer/dryer, and a few things that will be moved out to the shed later.

Aaron's man room. I put my Dawson's Creek box set out to make fun of him. This room has our "adventure closet" with our outdoor gear.

Also Aaron's man room. We're lacking furniture for down there...

The back garden.

There are artichokes growing in one of our raised beds. Fate.

Backyard clothesline.

As you might be able to tell, there are some more upcoming projects. I'm excited to make the place even more ours. I love it!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Friday Five

•bike commuting
•fruits & veggies
•straight hair
•box fans
•library books

It's been a crazy week. Work was hectic until Wednesday, and I was still trying to get the house and everything in order. Last night, Aaron's mom and aunts made it into town. So I guess we're signed up for a weekend of family fun. I'll let you know.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Exhaustion building

Working backwards....

We moved this weekend. Into a new house in the town I work in. Actually our house is 1.5 miles from my office. It was previously rented by a coworker of mine, and a former member of my department before that. We like to keep things in the family, I suppose.

It has a big, fenced back yard with a garden. It has a finished, connected garage where laundry will be done and video games will be played. It has a big(ish) kitchen, a living room with tons of light, the perfect-sized bedroom and an extra room ...for me. A room of my own. So far "my" room has a desk (no chair) and my closet. Maybe I will put more there soon. I envision it being my "office/yoga studio".

I biked to work for the first time today. This was a feat considering I'm not the most confident cyclist in the world. I know I'll get better. I'm exhausted from the stress of it (silly, I know). But I'm also residually exhausted from the weekend. Because said previous renter/coworker is busy moving into a new house & becoming a father & other life-changing events, we hadn't actually seen the place before we got the keys. We took everyone's word for what a great space and what a great deal it is. And it is.

I dropped by on Friday after work, gawked at the emptiness and decided which rooms and closets would hold which things. That night, we drove back down for dinner and for Aaron to see the place and to drop off the three boxes worth of books, DVDs and CDs we'd actually packed ahead of time.

Nothing else was packed. Nothing. But, we don't have too many things at this point. We had just enough to fit into our last 600-square-foot studio apartment, so we weren't too worried about the packing side of things.

We were fully packed by about 1 p.m. on Saturday, and just about had everything under one roof by 9 p.m. that evening. I tried to unpack a bit, but my feet weren't having it. Aaron had to work on Sunday morning and early afternoon, so I unpacked most of the house by myself and at noon made my way back to the old place for cleaning duty. It wasn't a tough job since the apartment was teeny and essentially brand new. Aaron joined me at 1:30 or so. We took a break and grabbed lunch and made a Target trip before we finished up cleaning the kitchen, taking out the last bit of trash & cramming the cleaning supplies into the back of my PT Cruiser.

I headed into our moving experience physically tired and sore from a day - Friday - of canyoneering. I'm writing an outdoorsy story for work, and the director of the school's "Adventure Leadership Institute" invited me on a trip with a group of kids training to teach a canyon leadership class. It was their second time to run this particular canyon, and it was my first time running any canyon...

After a two hour drive in a van, we stopped on the side of the road and suited up: wet suits, dry jackets, booties, helmets, PFDs and canyoneering harnesses, which are different from climbing harnesses in that they have rubber bottoms. Yup. You're essentially wearing a rubber diaper.

Wearing all of this gear, we bushwhacked through a forest to get to the canyon. We started out wading through the creek, which was actually the most difficult part of the entire trip for me. I'm always careful when I'm walking over rocks. I go slow. And, it turns out, I go even slower in water. But, the water got deeper and the rocks got bigger, and the walking part got easier after awhile. There were several slides down rushing water and jumps into deep water off high rocks and tree trunks - fun.

And there were two repels. Before this, I had only repelled off of vertical or slightly overhung (or slightly slabby) surfaces after sport climbing. Repelling down a waterfall into shallow water is different. Your life is in your own hands, sure. That part doesn't bother me. The part that did bother me was the sliding-down the rocks part. My leg got stuck and my hip popped on the first one... And also the whole water part. Before I started, they told me that climbers have a tendency to stop repelling and wait for a moment if they feel uncomfortable, but when you're repelling down a waterfall you shouldn't stop because the water will just keep hitting you and building up. I understood this and was sure I wouldn't have a problem during the first, short repel. I was wrong. The first thing I did when I felt a little freaked was STOP, and the next thing I knew, the whole team was yelling at me to "keep going". Hilarious. I did better the second time.

And I made it out of the canyon alive. Tired, but alive. It was an awesome experience, and I think it will make my story stand out. I just have to finish writing it...

I was also tired starting out on the canyon trip because we'd been out late two nights before seeing The Postal Service at the Rose Garden in Portland. The show was amazing. I'd never been to a concert at a venue that big before. And Jenny Lewis was amazing. She was, of course, my favorite part. Before the show we went over to Dave & Rebekah's and had salad and pizza and beer and wine and cider and the rest of my marion berry pie. It was a great night and totally worth the exhaustion that followed.

So see, it's all building on itself. Last night we were back in the climbing gym. And after that we finished laundry and cleaning the new house. We're having our first guests in the next day or so: Aaron's mom and two Aunts are coming. Yup, I'm gonna need a nap after my ride home from work.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


Yesterday, I stumbled upon this New York Times article about how hip chopped salads are, which of course meant that I needed a salad – chopped or not – immediately.

I Pinterest’d (is that a thing?) chopped salads. Most of them have beans and things. I only put beans in my salad when I want to be extra healthy and get that extra protein. But yesterday, I just wanted THE perfect salad …because I didn’t have any ingredients at home and knew that a special grocery trip would have to be made to acquire them, so why not get exactly what I wanted?

(this is what I wanted. sorry not sorry about the the phone shot. too busy eating)

After a lot of thought, I reverted to what I am now calling the Callie Standard Ingredients. Seriously, throw these things on a pizza, in a pasta, salad, wherever, I will eat them (all). They are, in order of importance:

canned artichoke hearts: CANNED. Not jarred/marinated. Unlike most Americans, my first exposure to the artichoke was NOT in a cream-heavy spinach/artichoke dip, and it was not the heart(s) alone. It was a whole, steamed artichoke that my grandmother made for me, which is still one of my favorite foods ever.

mushrooms: any kind. I do not discriminate here. I generally head toward button white, but last night we ended up with some crimini.

tomatoes: I’ll opt for sun-dried if I have them on hand or chop up whatever I have otherwise. I like roma & vine ripe just because they’re smaller and easier for me to work with. Last night I halved some of the best cherry tomatoes I’ve ever eaten.

black olives: Another food I adopted early. I used to “sneak” these off the counter while my mom was chopping veggies up for tacos or homemade pizza. Pretty sure she saw me do it every single time, and let me. Because hey, it’s an olive. I think I was at least 10 before I figured out that olives came in green.

Red onions get an honorary mention here, as do onions in general. I’ve never been a fan of them until recently when I realized every recipe I ever make calls for them, and it’s kind of boring to leave them out because they do have a really good FLAVOR. I’m just not a fan of the slimy white guys hanging out in the middle of stuff. But, recently, I have been using them. Usually the yellow ones. I really, honestly like caramelized onions now! But, I was feeling brave about it, so I slipped a handful of chopped red onion into this salad. I know. I know.

Anyway. Last night’s salad ended up being all of the ingredients above atop a romaine bed with some crumbled gorgonzola cheese, garlic croutons and pepper. Dressing? Store-bought. I know, I could have tried harder, but I was hungry! And we got Annie’s , which is a brand I love. Aaron and I devoured it, and Aaron has probably only ever eaten salad as an entre a handful of times since I’ve known him. Luckily, there’s just enough left for lunch today. Along with most of the rest of the onion and a couple handful of cherry tomatoes, which I might just snack on during our move this weekend. Yup. Crazy days. See you guys soon!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Accidental Teepee

Yes, yes. I accidentally booked a teepee on the edge of a giant canyon for my overnight work trip. Doesn't that happen to you all the time?

Monday, July 15, 2013


So you've seen a million pictures of Crater Lake, right? That's a thing, isn't it? ...Well, I went there for the first time on Saturday. I was blown away and took a million of my own.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Weekend Watches, Reads & Rides

Besides all the delicious food we ate, this weekend was...

Friday Night Lights. I've never watched the show before, but it's great to have on in the background. I let it play while I read and cooked and relaxed all weekend. Julie & Matt are my favorite...

Mud. We went to see the film on Saturday at our local indie movie theater - our first time there. It reminded me of the OLD Ragtag in Columbia, Mo., my college town. There weren't any couches in our theater, but I wouldn't put it past this place to have them hiding in another one.

Mud was filmed in the east Arkansas delta. It was beautiful and perfect and, yes, "coming of age". I liked it a lot. I thought the kid actors were fantastic, and it was fun to see a friend's name in the credits as a "location assistant". Also funny to see local, Arkansas things like Larry's Pizza in movies. God, I miss their loaded baked potato pizza.....

There was also lots of reading... I finished these books:

One I liked, one I hated. Guess which. Heh. The Lost Girls was probably the worst piece of travel trash that I'e ever read. It was written by three stuck up New York City women, but it sounds like it was just written by ONE stuck up, New York City woman. Anyway....

The Tin Drum was, of course, fantastic, as I expected it to be. I love Grass' voice. So unique. So perfect.

And we went on an almost 10-mile bike ride! Holy crap! Aaron finally got a bike last week, and we went on our first ride together on Wednesday. It was my first time out on the "street" ...the rural highway that starts just a mile from our house, past the adorable park... On Wednesday I was so nervous! I'm still not fully confident in my cycling abilities. We went six miles that day, and my legs didn't get sore, just my wrists and forearms from gripping my handlebars to death.

Our ride late Sunday morning was much, much better! Since nothing terrible happened to me on our first ride (And by that, I mean I didn't spontaneously fall over or get hit by a car), I decided to set out with a much more confident mindset. I did a much better job steering and staying inside the bike lane line, which feels tiny sometimes, even though it isn't. I didn't break going down big hills (mostly), and I even picked my left hand up a few times to signal.

These sound like silly little tiny victories, but I'm proud of myself. I have a love/hate relationship with the idea of bicycles, but I want to like them! And now I'm on the road - literally. Heh.

That's all folks.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

A good weekend for eating...

blueberry pie | pizza: spinach, sun-dried tomato, ricotta | enchiladas

Friday, July 5, 2013

Friday Five

•mid-week holidays
•raw Tuesdays (more later)
•braids (unwashed hair)

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Quack Quack Quack

So...last week, I got myself involved in an interesting discussion, which turned into this.

And this is all because my friends from college are crazy and fun and imaginative (and I miss them)...

But, in the middle of all this hoopla, we're not talking about why the Mighty Ducks is important (as a film series), and why we feel drawn to them. Here are my thoughts on the matter....

•They're underdogs: When the Ducks start out as District 5, before Coach Bombay swoops in to save them, they have nothing. They're using newspapers for hockey pads. All they really have is each other, which brings us to my next point

•We love ensembles: DUCKS FLY TOGETHER, and there is someone for everyone to relate to! I love ensemble films in general, but the Mighty Ducks has to be one of my favorites. There are SO many characters. Some of them kind of get lost in the shuffle, and we only had a few details about them to form our opinions. This makes them the perfect "'verse" for fanfiction, which I may or may not have enjoyed in junior high and early high school...

•Girl power: And this might be the most important point for me. But, every time I wear my hair in a low braid (which is often because I'm just not a pony tail person), I think about Connie Moreau and how badass that long, brunette braid looked coming out of her helmet. The Might Ducks isn't just for boys. It's for strong girls just as much, and we loved seeing Connie and Julie "The Cat" dominate.

These are just a few of my thoughts, but these three movies were honestly a pretty important part of my childhood. They ended up challenging me creatively, and I even made friends through the fandom. Just goes to show that you never really know where your inspiration is going to end up coming from.

"...And there you were: Charlie and the Ducks. And as hard as I fought it, there you were. You gave me a life, Charlie, and I want to say thank you. I told Orien about all this when I talked to him about taking over. I told him that you were the heart of the team and that you would learn something from each other. I told him that you were the real Minnesota Miracle Man."

Monday, July 1, 2013


Another weekend is in the books. Friday's usual pizza night turned into pasta night. We were going grocery shopping after work, which opened up a myriad of dinner opportunities, but Aaron said he felt like pasta, so pasta it was. My current favorite recipe is based on this Pinterest favorite, as I do love the goat cheese. I usually leave out the artichokes, but this time we did opt to add some mushrooms & sun-dried tomatoes to the sauce!

So, after work we made our way to the store and picked up everything we needed ...except the actual pasta, which I realized after we'd pulled out of the parking lot. Luckily, just around the corner was our local Target store, and we ran in and fetched some trottole. How the hell have I never cooked with that stuff before? It holds sauce perfectly, and like most things Archer Farms, this variety was delicious!

After a jaunt down to Eugene on Saturday morning during which we may or may not have ended up with a half dozen Voodoo doughnuts, we headed out to Wolf Rock.

Wolf Rock is apparently Oregon's largest monolith, and it does look intimidating from several miles away. Saturday was the first really hot, undebatably-summer day in Oregon so far, and since there aren't that many sport routes at Wolf Rock, and since I'm still not entirely psyched on Sport climbing at the moment, we decided not to camp near the crag that night.

Instead, we headed to Sisters, only stopping in town for beer...

I've only seen the Kansas-City-based Boulevard beer in two places in Oregon so far: Market of Choice in Corvallis and now, Ray's Food Place in Sisters. Neither of these stores have stocked my favorite: Boulevard Wheat, so if anybody knows where to find that, please let me know! I will buy it in cases.

This Bock was delicious, though! Maybe even rivaling the Wheat. I really enjoyed drinking it when we made it to the Sisters Boulders.

This area is a really cute, neat and compact boulder field. The rock is volcanic and the 30-ish-food boulders just rise out of the flat landscape.

We fooled around on a few of the problems on Sunday, and while we didn't climb anything THAT quality, I'm convinced there are amazing problems out there, and I want to find them! We'll be back, Sisters.