Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Week Full of Adventures!

What a week! The last seven days have been filled with birthdays, road trips, snow, and a lot of good food!

Monday – If our house doesn’t have a sweet tooth, then I don’t know who does. This was proven yet again when we finished a whole batch of brownies Monday evening, not to mention the two different kinds of homemade cookies over the weekend, banana cake from Peggy and oatmeal cookies on Tues., carrot cake on Wed., Thanksgiving on Thursday (aka lots of pie), leftovers on Fri., and chocolate cake, oatmeal cookies, and Krispy Kreme doughnuts on Sat. Mmm, mmm, mmmm.
Tuesday - Before coming to Portland we all heard how the weather was mild during the winter and what do we get – SNOW! I’m not too sure if you can really call it snow – more like a good dusting. Nevertheless, it canceled local schools for the day and Heather didn’t have to go to work.  I, however, had work and had to walk all the way there and back in the snow, ice, and cold. I didn’t know if I was going to make it. (for those of you that don’t know – my work is right next door lol)
 Wednesday – The first birthday of the week – celebrating 24 on the 24th! It was a day filled with birthday singing, many calls/messages from friends and family, the first fire made in our fireplace, and carrot cake made by Ben!
Thursday – This was our first house venture out of the Portland area on our own.  We had an early morning exploring around the Columbia River Gorge and many of the waterfalls around there – absolutely B-E-A-utiful!  We also got some good ice-skating practice on our hike while we tried not to fall on the icy paths. We followed it with a great Thanksgiving dinner at Jane and Vance’s where we learned that putting a 1000 piece puzzle together in one night is possible and there’s nothing like some good harmonica music.
Friday – We had our second road trip! We ventured over the snowy mountains to the Coast, dodging the rain from one beach to another. No one actually went swimming this time (well Ben didn’t notice a wave quickly approaching and might have gotten a little wet lol) but we went to a cheese factory, saw a wind surfer, and managed to name 80 of the 95 counties of Virginia from memory (impressive). 

Saturday – We had our second birthday of the week!! Jon turned a quarter of a century!   We started our day by getting in the Christmas spirit, decorating the church at Hanging of the Greens.  That was followed by a venture to Forest Park for a hike, the Pink Feather for some karaoke, and a chocolate cake for Jon’s Birthday!
Thanks to Beth and the use of her car we managed to expand our scope of Portland and the surrounding area! However, I think we are all looking forward to a quieter week coming up and perhaps some Sunday afternoon naps in our near future. 
Until next week –
            Chelsea Beth

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Where does the time go??

Day by day we are getting more settled into our cozy green house here in southeast Portland, and it is feeling more and more like home. The folks at Peace COB have been so incredibly welcoming and generous with their time and donations to our house. After sharing with them a list of some items that we still needed for the house, the list has been whittled down to barely a handful of items now. Some exciting additions to the decor this week were some matching night stands, and a loveseat and a chair for our "sitting room" (all freebies on Craig's list). It's amazing what you can find for free if you have the time to look for it (thanks, Ben) and a truck to transport it (thanks, Lou). The walls were feeling a bit bare, so after the gift of some Blue-Tack, we got right to work and posted up some maps. I'm particularly loving the massive city map of Portland on the kitchen wall, as I reference it multiple times daily.

So, what I'm realizing is that despite working/volunteering a reasonable 35-40 hours a week, there still doesn't seem to be enough time in the day or the week to do all of those things that I'd like to do....I'm still trying to figure out why that is, but I think I'm realizing that living with other folks and being intentional about it just takes more time than I anticipated. The other thing that takes time is getting from one place to another. I've discovered that the sheer nature of public transportation slows down the pace of life, and it is definitely to your advantage to have some degree of patience. For example, it can be a 45 minute commute to travel three miles to work via a combination of walking and bus. And on Friday to visit the credit union to open an account (not so easy when you don't have a lease or utilities in your name I discovered) and then the drug store, literally took me 2 and a half hours from start to finish, whereas with a car, both events could have been completed in less than an hour. So, it's easy to see why a lot of people have cars in the suburbs. There is definitely a convenience factor there. Even so, the public transportation system seems much better in Portland than most places I've visited in the US, and I am pretty excited about the prospect of expanding my transportation options with a bike.

Personal highlights for me last week: our first attempt at dinner conversation in Spanish only (thank goodness for Jon!), expanding our "house family" to six while Jon's friends visited, an entertaining evening at "The Seussification of Romeo and Juliet", a fabulous homemade Ethiopian meal, and love feast after church today (complete with vegetarian sop) is good.
So, what's in store for us this week??? A three day work week for Chelsea and I, two birthdays in the house, and some day trips on our days off. Stay tuned! - Heather

Monday, November 15, 2010

Retired...nope just unemployed

Hola World Wide Web:

We’ve been in the house officially two weeks! It feels like 2 years.  I never really understood what retired people meant when they said that “They are busier now, than when they had a job.”  As a fellow retired person (aka unemployed), I fully agree.  These  two weeks have seen our house having lots of hours of house meetings, painting a room that we not so lovingly call the Smoker’s Lounge (the previous tenets unthankfully smoked but thankfully kept it to one room), visiting almost daily with church members who bring us housewarming items or help us fix things, and learning to share a pretty small 3 bedroom house with 3 other people.  Despite all of this, it’s been really enjoyable. 

This past weekend we went to Brandy’s surprise birthday party (she’s 15 and a dog).  Thankfully, no one spilled the beans and she was surprised although quite apathetic and tired.  Ben made a sweet card that said, “It’s your birthday .... Let’s all PAWS to celebrate!”  :)

Stay tuned for next week’s update.  This week we are welcoming 2 friends of mine from back east, going to a Dr. Seuss version of Romeo and Juliet and a homemade ethiopian dinner! 


Friday, November 12, 2010

Let's Get 'Dis Par-tay Started

We've been here in SE PDX for almost two weeks now.  Whew.  Whatever each of us was doing before we arrived here seems like a small eternity ago.  Two weeks ago I hadn't even boarded the train to come out here.  A month ago I lived in Cincinnati.  Holy mackerel.  Was that even this year?  The calendar says that's the case, but I'm not sure I believe it.

There's plenty more for us to learn about each other and hopefully you'll hear about some of the fun and whatever involved in all that.  So far we know that we go through a heck of a lot of yogurt, peanut butter, and cheese.  We also have some durn good cooks in the house, regardless of prior cooking experience.  Food-wise, I think it's gonna be a spectacular year.  The people are pretty cool, too.

Tonight we're attending a surprise birthday party for one of our canine fellow congregants.  I'd like to share more details at this time but it IS a surprise party, so I can't divulge too many details at this time.  Maybe someone will provide some follow up details in a later post.

So, welcome to the Portland Community House blog.  I hope it's everything you dreamed of and more.  Stay tuned; it's only gonna get better.