Sunday, December 13, 2015

Fall Retrospective

This is the first year since moving to Portland where I haven't spent the fall months buried under papers, textbooks, and deadlines - oh my! I've enjoyed this season of:

  • Growth - I took huge leaps (and risks) professionally, and feel amazingly fortunate to have landed in a place where I get to pretend that I'm on the West Wing (though it usually feels more like Parks & Rec) while helping shape policy and programs that make a difference in our city. I'm incredibly grateful to those who convinced me to try out this totally unexpected career path.
  • Play - after such a lonely start in Portland, I've gradually found an incredible community of friends from all walks of life. These are public servants, critical thinkers, and excellent beer drinkers: what more could you want?
  • Exploration - while Monday through Friday has been packed, weekends have been for adventure. both locally and up the road (like here and here).
Wakheena Falls, from this trip

Most of these snapshots are from small moments - a lunchtime stroll, walking home from getting groceries, a hike with a friend. I love how having a camera with me at all times via my cell phone helps me look at the world in a different way. I'll have to keep working on that attitude as we approach January, AKA the month in Portland where the whole city is in a bad mood.

The persimmon tree in our background on one of the first days of fall - remember sunshine?

The newly-opened Tilikum Crossing

In the Downtown Park blocks, heading to the (now-closed) Farmer's Market on a lunch break

Still a few blooms left at the Rose Garden; lots of other foliage in full glory (below) - this particular day started out gray, and ended with a complete downpour

Loved this bouquet from Spellbound Flowers

In addition to flowers, leaves, and produce, I'm also a sucker for brick buildings (although I am constantly reminded that we are all doomed)

Photos couldn't capture the true brilliance of this sunrise...

...or the clouds gracing this sunset (photo snapped while walking along a dreary section of Highway 10!)

Boyfriend and I talk a lot about how stupid-lucky we feel to be in this place in our lives, and we're trying to be mindful of what this means in our city and our world. Sometimes the contrast is too great, and I'm paralyzed by guilt (or wondering when the other shoe will drop, as it is wont to do). I'm trying to find the balance of appreciating the beauty and opportunities around me, and working to ensure that my neighbors have access to the same. 

Feeling grateful, hopeful, and humbled in this Advent season.

These photos are a mixed of as-yet-unshared pictures and snapshots previously posted on instagram. Still waiting for my mom to get her account :)

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Mosier + Hood River

It's tough to capture the wild beauty of the Gorge during a storm (especially with a camera phone, while in the passenger seat), but it was a sight to behold - mist rising above the trees, patches of snow still sparkling from last weekend, wind rippling through the river. We were headed to Mosier, a few miles past Hood River, to join friends for the day.

This is the Mosier City Hall/Fire Department headquarters, a fittingly tiny building for a tiny town of about 430 residents on less than a square mile of land. Understanding firsthand the challenges of living in a small town, I hate to overstate its charm - but it's hard not to gush. 

We headed to lunch at Pfriem Family Brewers in Hood River, which we definitely recommend both for the beer and for the food. (Great vegetarian and vegan options, which also got thumbs-up from the meat-eaters in the crowd!) The Winter Ale was especially delicious on such a chilly day.

So different than last time, no?

If you keep driving on Historic Highway 30, you'll wind your way up to Rowena Crest. There are other vistas certainly worth stopping for along the way.

We ended the night by grabbing takeout from Rack & Cloth in Mosier, listening to a bluegrass duo while we waited for wood-fired pizza featuring local produce - the apple/blue cheese/balsamic vinegar pie was our favorite. We have it on good authority that Rack & Cloth makes the best cider around, so I guess we'll just have to come back and verify!