Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Our trip back home for Christmas was pretty fantastic. I packed light, for the first time ever, making do with only my purse and one carry-on bag for the entire two weeks. I'm usually at least a three bag traveler so this was a significant accomplishment. My first flight alone went smoothly, without turbulence or other worrisome things. My seatmate, however, did not share my opinion, being an extremely nervous flyer who rocked incessantly through the entire flight. 

Oregon was on its best behavior for my arrival, complete with blue skies and sunshine! Please excuse the prop in the photo; I was committed to documenting this rare occurrence. Unfortunately, the sun only lasted for the afternoon before returning to the standard grey and rain.

Mt Hood
Before leaving Idaho, I had lamented the fact that my cozy slippers took up too much room to accompany me. Chris arrived about a week after I did and, little did I know, had decided to make room in his bag to bring my slippers with him. I'm a lucky girl to have married such a thoughtful man.

We enjoyed lots of laughter, conversation, relaxation, and food while visiting family, catching up with friends, and playing around on the farm. I intended to post a slew of pictures from the trip, but it appears that we accidentally left our camera in Oregon. These two measly photos are all I have for now, but I suppose two are better than none.

Scenery from my parents' neck of the woods
 The pets were excited to have us home again; the pup hasn't let us out of his sight and the cat has been purring nonstop.

Blurry, but just look at that grin
Obsession of the week: The Lumineers - Ho Hey
 If you haven't heard this yet then you're definitely missing out. I'm not much of a dancer, but I can't stay still listening to this song.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Workin' For a Living

I didn't anticipate being quite so busy during the last leg of this term, but it's over now and it looks as though my efforts have paid off. I won't be taking as many credits next term because we are in the process of buying a house! We put in an offer and were accepted last week so I'm heading back to the real (working) world to help smooth the transition. We hadn't planned to get serious about finding "the" house until spring, but we happened across a fantastic deal and decided to take the plunge a little early.

But before anything else, I'm heading back to Oregon for an extended visit. Here's hoping that the sun shows up at least a couple of times while I'm there since Idaho has been spoiling me with massive amounts of sunshine. My plan for relaxation: A long run through the countryside followed by a new book and a glass (or two) of good wine, repeated daily. 

We had a little visitor last week who was pretty suspicious of the dog...

...but they eventually got used to each other.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Home for the Holidays

I'm back! Sort of. A more accurate statement would be that I'm choosing to cut my day short (at the 14 hour mark) to do something other than school...like update my blog. Exciting times, I know.

We drove back to Oregon for Thanksgiving and it wasn't as terrifying as I expected it to be. Growing up in the Willamette Valley means that I have an excessive healthy fear of driving when it snows. This fear is completely rational when you consider the fact that no one knows how to drive in the snow back home - and those that claim they do are still grievously out of practice.

Needless to say, I do not agree with Dean and Frank's cheery assessment of the wonders that accompany the "marshmallow world" of winter and proceeded to have a minor heart attack when snow began falling shortly before we planned to leave. (Don't get the reference? Click here)

The weather calmed down and I resumed breathing normally...

Until the weather outside of La Grande took a turn for the worse.

Luckily, it stopped snowing east of Pendleton. Of course, that is also where the real excitement began since the road was covered in ice...but ice makes me less panicky than snow. Eastbound traffic had a much rougher time than the few of us heading west - cars were off the road, a few trucks had jack-knifed, and traffic was at a standstill.

It stopped snowing, hooray! Oh, wait...
The roads were clear from Pendleton all the way back to Salem, but we found out later that I-84 closed shortly after we went through. Yikes.

Oregon welcomed us back with the usual grey and rain, but a couple of sunbreaks peeked through early in the week.

All in all, it was a successful holiday: we caught up with family and friends, laughed a lot, ate too much, and came back from the break refreshed and well rested.

"I had rather be on my farm than be emperor of the world." 
- George Washington

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Temporary Absence...

Last week was spent rushing to get caught up on everything that had to be postponed to accommodate midterms, this week will be filled with frenzied attempts to get everything done before the holiday, and next week will involve madly prepping for finals/final projects while balancing holiday events.

World's lamest excuse for a lack of pictures and updates? Highly likely, but unfortunately necessary. Gone crazy, be back soon.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Winter Already?

Midterms are over...and I'm still standing. I think they went well, but won't officially know for a week or two. Fingers crossed!

The first snow of the season came in last week. Thankfully, it only stuck in the foothills on Friday night so the roads stayed clear for our friends who drove out from Oregon that afternoon. It was great to see them and the timing was just right to allow for celebrating one of their birthdays as well! I realized today that I neglected to take pictures over the weekend though, not cool...

"A lot of people like snow.  I find it to be an unnecessary freezing of water."
- Carl Reiner

Monday, October 31, 2011

Every Day I'm Shufflin'

Midterms. One little word robbing students everywhere of sleep...

Just kidding! Kind of... There's only one midterm that's making me a little nervous. One instructor demands a level of specificity bordering on the ridiculous since many of these "necessary" details are not directly connected to the theories of microeconomics. Maybe it's just me, but it seems a bit unfair to ask for a list of the physical symptoms of sleeping sickness rather than the economics of the situation...on a microeconomics quiz.

Don't worry though, I have helpers...



And a wonderful husband who buys me flowers.

He also bought me a chocolate cupcake, but it didn't last long enough to take a picture.

P.S. Watch this video. You'll feel better about your neighbors and hum this ridiculously catchy song for days. You're welcome.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Good, the Bad, and the Not So Exciting

Nothing new to report on the Idaho front, other than it's supposed to dip below freezing multiple nights this week. Low temperatures give me a good reason to start enjoying my favorite winter drink - hot spiced apple cider!

Our weekend consisted of grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, organizing, and a very sad lack of hiking. And one of my instructors forgot to open the mandatory weekly discussions on time last week, which has left me playing catch-up. Oh, well.

"Optimist: someone who figures that taking a step backward after taking a step forward is not a disaster, it's a cha-cha." 
- Robert Brault

Monday, October 17, 2011

Of Hills and Mountains

Last Saturday was beautiful so we took advantage of the nice weather and did some exploring. We discovered a great park on the northeast side of town and an acceptable alternative to Noah's Bagels. The park has a ridge that offers fantastic views of the city and an extensive trail system that will afford additional weekends of wandering.

The climb
View to the east
View to the west
We also took a drive up the mountain to check out Bogus Basin. The entire area is open for hiking so we are planning to take a couple day trips up there in the next few weeks. Most of the locals say that the drive up takes 20 minutes, but our drive clocked in at 45 minutes. The locals must have rose-colored glasses...or insane driving skills.

"I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in." 
- John Muir

Monday, October 10, 2011

Dear Sunshine, I Miss You.

Fall arrived in an overly enthusiastic fashion, leaving me to unhappily decode the forecasts calling for day after day of "partial clouds" (translation: heavy clouds...all day). The cat is dealing with the cold temperatures by shamelessly sneaking under whatever blanket(s) that I happen to be in possession of at that moment. Of course, I really shouldn't judge since I have absconded with a certain someone's favorite slippers...

Someone is not cut out for winter here.
Last weekend was beautiful; 70 degrees and sunshine felt amazing after days of rainy 50 degree weather. We had a wonderful visit with my parents which included touring the city, playing the rowdiest game of Monopoly ever, introducing them to Korean BBQ, checking out a new church, and thoroughly enjoying our time together.

"Happiness makes up in height for what it lacks in length."
- Robert Frost

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Where Did Our Summer Go?

The forecast is cold and wet for the next few days. Ugh. It was warm and sunny all weekend (and the week before that, and the month before that), so going from summer almost straight into low 50s with rain is a cruel blow. But the good news is that I can bust out my jackets and scarves. Oh, how I've missed them!

"Hi, my name is Rachel and I am addicted to scarves. It's been one week since my last purchase..."

Target is the worst for playing on my weakness with their displays full of lovely (and inexpensive!) scarves right by the entrance and registers. I bought my sister a scarf that will bring out the blue in her eyes...and then bought a duplicate for myself. I'm a weak, weak person.

In other news: my parents are coming for their first visit!! It will be cold, but it should at least be sunny.  And even if it's not, there will be scarves for all.

"Happiness often sneaks in through a door you didn't know you left open."
- John Barrymore

Monday, September 26, 2011

School Is In Session, Finally!

I've been impatiently waiting for classes to begin, but the tension has broken as fall term commenced last Friday. I may be singing a slightly different tune by December, but my enthusiasm for the topics should easily carry me through most of the term.

We also had the pleasure of hosting Chris' parents last weekend. Playing tour guide in a town that we are still getting to know can prove to be a bit challenging, but we took them through most of our favorite spots and found some new things along the way. While touring the capitol building, we discovered that the lower floor has a visitor's center complete with educational videos about the history of the building and Idaho's government as well as the building's recent renovation/expansion. Apparently I succumbed to a nap part-way through one of the longer versions. Darkened room with comfy chairs...gets me every time.

Sunset view from our backyard

"The doors we open and close each day decide the lives we live." 
- Flora Whittemore

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Best Things In Life Are Free

Our evening wanderings have frequently been following the canal bordering our neighborhood, partially due to the fact that it offers uninterrupted views of the foothills and sunsets, but also because it is a fantastic area for the pup to run off-leash safely. Despite regular outings, he is beside himself with excitement every time we even think about going for a walk. Maybe putting on a certain pair of shoes tips him off...

Our latest ramble took us into an older neighborhood surrounding the local golf course and we found this gem of a mailbox (in addition to some entertaining 80’s architecture).

We also attended a free airshow at the Mountain Home Air Force Base over the weekend. There were both vintage and modern planes on display along the tarmac and multiple aerial displays, including a mock dogfight. It was well narrated so those of us who were unfamiliar with military planes and flight tactics could keep up with the action. The USAF Thunderbirds were the last performance of the day and put on an impressive show, but we forgot to get pictures of it.

"Heaven is under our feet, as well as over our heads." 
- Henry David Thoreau

Monday, September 12, 2011

Somehow, It Feels Like Going Downhill...

After running across pictures on an Idaho hiking site, it was decided that a trip to Shoshone Falls was at the top of our weekend agenda. With the drive clocking in at two and a half hours from Boise, this was also the farthest south that we have explored since moving to Idaho.

Shoshone Falls, just a few miles outside the city of Twin Falls, was well worth the drive.

After catching a glimpse of a footbridge spanning a canyon on the way to Twin Falls, we stopped at Malad Gorge on the return trip to check it out.

The Devil's Washbowl and local wildlife were an unexpected bonus.

Devil's Washbowl. Do you see the face in the rock?

How about now?


“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” 
- Henry Miller

Monday, September 5, 2011

Dabbling In D-I-Y

I've started a DIY list which includes everything from furniture to outdoor candle pillars. Instead of jumping off the deep end (and into the unsupervised use of large power tools), I decided to tackle the easiest item on my list: drawer organizers.

My original intention was to buy small and medium-sized mesh baskets to bring some organization to a few large, shallow drawers throughout the house. When I found out that the price for this type of basket was around $7 each, I decided that a less expensive route would be worth finding. Some quick research showed that people were using everything from craft boards, yardsticks, or rulers to staples, wood glue, or small nails for this type of project.

In the end, the only items I deemed necessary were:
- Thin board (sawed or scored/snapped into appropriate lengths)
- Wood glue
- Messy drawer



And the best part is, my total on the project was less than $1 per drawer!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Camping, Part Two: The Locale

After two hours of dirt roads and blind corners, we settled into a campground. Well...sort of in the campground. We decided that the island area outside of the campground looked like a better spot since it allowed us to set up all of the tents in a group. It was a bit more work to get the gear out to the site (down a ledge and across the dry part of the riverbed) but being slightly away from the campground made it feel much more secluded. The only downside were the voracious mosquitoes who were apparently immune to bug spray, smoke, and citronella candles.

While it ended up being too hot to do any hiking, the river offered some fun recreation. The area right outside of our camp was relatively shallow and perfect for setting up a chair and relaxing with our feet in the water. Slightly down river there were some deeper areas of rapids that lead to a calm pool which we decided was a great set up for tubing.

Still not a water dog, but he put his face in to get a stick

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Camping, Part One: The Journey

Last weekend was a weekend of firsts, among them:
  • First camping trip of the year
  • First camping trip in Idaho
  • First camping trip that I have single-handedly planned
  • First camping trip where I have traveled into unfamiliar wilderness areas without Chris
After hours of online research it appeared that our best bet would be trying to camp on the middle fork of the Boise River. As most of the campgrounds were fairly small (three to five sites per campground with one coming in at a whopping nine sites) and we wanted a shady spot that was actually on the river, it was decided that I should drive up before Chris got off work to find a suitable campground and stake out our site.

Saying that I was nervous about traversing the back-roads of an unknown area by myself and without cell service is a bit of an understatement: I'm capable of getting hopelessly lost even when MapQuest holds my hand. Much to my relief, another member of our group asked if she could ride up with me that day, leaving our hubbies to arrive together later that evening.

Supplies loaded into our trusty four-wheel drive and directions in hand, we set off into the hills. Since the area that we planned to camp at was supposed to be forested, you can imagine my concern when mile after mile of the drive continued to look like this: