Monday, May 30, 2011

Weekend in the Woods!

After some really busy days at SnowCap last week, I was pretty psyched for a three day weekend!  About 2 weeks ago, Jon and I decided it would be fun to plan a little camping trip for Memorial Day weekend.  In Virginia, you can almost be guaranteed decent weather for camping by the end of in Oregon it's a different story.  Despite the forecast of rain and possible snow for our campground, Jon and I headed in the direction of Mt. Hood on Friday evening anyway.  As expected, we had the pleasure of setting up camp in the rain, which made for a bit of sopping up to do, once we each crawled inside our respective tents.  A rain fly doesn't do much good until the tent is up and it's over the tent! 

On Saturday we got our hiking fix, by walking the Salmon River Trail, a pretty amazing walk that took us through old growth forest and up the Salmon River Canyon.  Twelve miles gave us plenty of time to talk about quite a few topics....Where do thoughts come from?  How important is it to have a job that's mentally stimulating and challenging?  Do dreams really mean anything?  Does God have emotions?  What exactly is God? and on and on.  

Jon and I both agreed that we should make this camping thing a more regular event.  There is just something nice about being away from the house and Portland proper for longer than 12 hours, and I've come to believe that it's good for my soul.  Rain and all!

And on another note...we have spinach, kale, and chard all growing strong in the garden now!  And our new arrivals include three tomato plants and two pepper plants (gifts from some good friends).  I'm looking forward to showing it all off to Ben when he arrives back in just a week!  I think he'll be impressed!


Monday, May 16, 2011

Being a grown up sucks

Hello blogosphere.

I've been coming to this realization steadily since I graduated college in 2007: being an adult sucks. It seems like my life revolves around work. But work for what? Everyday rolls into the next. There is the occasional distraction from work: hiking, dinner with friends, a run, phone calls to loved ones, etc. By and large work and, by extension life, is a grind. Maybe it's different when you have a family -- people that depend on your paycheck for their existence. I acknowledge and appreciate that having the ability to ask and think about this is a huge privilege.

I have a job that is good: I enjoy most days; it's work that I find important and meaningful; I don't dread going to work. Nevertheless I feel a huge pit in my stomach about what I'm doing with my life. I work because I need money to live. I wish there was a better way where I could have more flexibility; work when I want to to and sleep in when I want. Instead I feel that work becomes a prison. I have money but not time to travel. During my time in college and afterwords, I was blessed to be able to travel and see various parts of the world. It scares me to think that I have precisely 80hrs of vacation over the course of the next year. Which is enough for a few long weekends and major holidays, but that's it. No two weeks to gallivant around.

In high school, adults critique us for having jobs in high school saying, "you have a job so you can have a car, and you have a car so you can go to work." I feel like that now. I have a car, cell phone, and a place to sleep so I can work and I work so I can have those things. Is this what the rest of my life is? A never ending cycles of bills, obligations, and paychecks? It's frightening.

On a brighter note: the longer and sunnier days are much appreciated.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

30 for 34 - Poem

For this blog, I’d like to tell you a tale 
Of two crazy girls who walked a 30 mile trail.

Their hope was to finish 30 miles in one go 
And what made them want to do this, we’ll never know.

Many people thought they were insane
 And their thought was, “Oh we hope it doesn’t rain.”

They got up bright and early one Saturday morn 
With the ride on the Max being slightly forlorn.

They started their hike at 7 on the dot.
Walking fairly quickly, I’d even say a brisk trot.

The hike was in Forest Park on Wildwood trail 
With hopes that the rain wouldn’t make them ail.

Now, don’t get me wrong their sprits were very high 
They even counted every person as they walked by. 
And cheered whenever there were sun and blue in the sky.

The first 10 miles went by fairly quick.
And look here, we even have a pic.

They kept up a good pace of under a 20 min mile. 
And were thinking to themselves, this is very worthwhile 
But with all the mud and sweat starting to smell rather vile                                                             

At the 15 mile mark – they had a lunch on their break
And their muscles were starting to ache.

They were excited to be half way done 
and thankful that it had not rained a ton

Mile 15-20 they had an unexpected energy boost 
And their hiking speed they would not be reduce.

They enjoyed the hiking with many stories and laughs
And came to mile marker 20, as seen in the photograph

The mile markers, oh, I forgot about those
They were marked every ¼ of a mile – and kept them on their toes
Because they were high in the trees and hard to disclose

These mile markers kept them right on track
So extra time resting is not what they lacked.

On the trail there was mud galore 
And they got a little muddy, you can assure

One of them was very keen on her map 
and as you can see by other pictures she had a pink cap                                        
They had quite an eventful day, you can be sure, 
with many questions of “how many miles more."
And by the end their legs were so sore.

But you see, these girls didn’t care
Because in the end, 30 miles they did bear.

In 10 hours and 20 minutes they came to the end
 Being glad to finish, I won’t pretend

The number of people they saw was 95
 and Beth was picking them up – and her car had arrived  

So when the day was all said and done,
Without any blisters and without very much sun.

These girls will remember that one day. 
And they’ll be able to tell and say
That they hiked 30 miles for Heather’s 34th birthday!  

~ Chelsea


Monday, May 2, 2011

When the Rain Ceases

            Finally! We have SUN!!! I have come to the conclusion that you have to be a special kind of person to live in Portland, one who can endure rainy days and grey skies months on end. I however, have been constantly reminded, by the weather, that I am not a true Portlander and have struggled through the long, dreary, rainy winter- withhopes that the tales of blue summer skies are actually true. I have found this tale hard to believe when Portland has had the coldest and one of the wettest years on record. But, alas, the last two weekends we have had real sun and I've finally been able to get some much needed Vitamin D. Now, I say ‘real sun’ because a true Portlander might argue that we have had sun before this point, which may be true, but in many cases I’m finding that our Portland “sunny days” are what in Virginia we call “Mostly Cloudy”And although I give much respect for all those who live in Portland for many years, these “sunny days” just weren’t quite cutting it for me.
         The one positive thing that I have found amidst our Noah like weather is that after much rain comes much beauty, and I can see why Portlanders stick out the winter.  This beauty we have found in the newly grown spouts, that shoot up every day in our garden, to the great outdoors of Oregon, which we have recently gotten to enjoy on a couple occasions. This past Saturday was one of those occasions when Jon, Heather and I, ventured out to the Columbia River Gorge to find the Eagle Creek trail. We hiked about twelve miles, with every turn being another scenic view of the mountains, river or waterfall. Our destination was Tunnel Falls, a waterfall that you could walk behind. (as seen a pictures below) Sunday, was yet another one of those occasions.  I was invited to go to the Tulip Farm, which I was thrilled about, hence the many pictures of tulips. (I couldn't decide which to post) Although there are still rainy days in the near forecast, I have hope that we will soon see a more consistent amount of days with real sun, and I look forward to the many adventures that are yet to come.

In other news-  In the mist of getting pictures uploading for this blog, I stumbled over newly posted status on facebook that Osama Bin Laden had been killed. You can tell you are semi-disconnected with the world, when you get current events from the Newsfeed on facebook, but     nevertheless, after quickly telling my hosuemates we found the best place for internet in the house and watched the live news and Obama’s speech that followed. While continuing to work on my blog and to check what friends were writing on facebook about this event, I was very disheartened at the immense celebration that was going on, at the expense of Bin Laden’s life.  I don’t see how anyone can celebrate someone’s death, even Bin Laden’s. Can’t we see the humanity that lies inside each of us?  What happened to loving our enemies? Or to not rejoice when your enemy falls? I will celebrate when we walk in the way of peace, and have love for all. But by the looks of it, we have a ways to go.  
In the words of ‎Martin Luther King, Jr.

"The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral,begetting 
the very thing it seeks to destroy. 
Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. 
Darkness cannot drive out darkness: 
only light can do that. 
Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.

In fact, violence merely increases hate. Through violence you may murder the liar, 
but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. 
Through violence you may murder the hater, 
but you do not murder hate. 

Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, 
adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. 
Darkness cannot drive out darkness: 
only light can do that. 
Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that."