Next Chapter

A couple of friends and I decided to do a girls weekend camping trip on the Nehalem River in the Tillamook State Forest shortly before Labor Day. One friend got there early to hold our walk in, non-reservable camp site. The other friend arrived the next day and I arrived the following morning. Cole enjoyed running around the site, hanging by the fire and of course eating some camp food. My giant new tent definitely took up some serious real estate at our site but we managed to all squeeze in. It was nice; with how stressful the first half of this year has been, I needed to get away and just relax with my friends for a bit, even if for only one night.

I had been living downtown near Union Station since November of 2014. I liked my apartment and parts of my particular neighborhood. It was close to my job, the Saturday Market, the waterfront and the Pearl District. It was super easy to get just about anywhere in town because I was pretty much in the center of Portland. The rent was fairly reasonable for the area but still way more than I wanted to keep paying. I started looking on Craigslist for apartments and rooms for rent. I met with one couple in Hillsboro who had a room for rent in their house. They seemed nice enough but it quite didn’t feel like the best fit. Then I met with a group of women in St. Johns who had a room for rent in their house and after three hours of conversation and two glasses of wine, it was clear the chemistry was right. So, I gave notice at The Yards at Union Station and began planning my move.

Hello, St. Johns!!!

Since I was going to be condensing my life into one bedroom at the new place, I decided to downsize and get rid of a lot of my furniture and belongings. I sold a lot of things on Craigslist and Offer Up and gave a lot of things away to my neighbor as well. Since I didn’t have much to move after that, I decided to forego my usual hiring of movers and planned to move everything myself and with the help of a few friends. Instead of boxes, I used Instacart fabric grocery bags. Instead of a truck, I used my Toyota Corolla and made several trips back and forth as well as hiring a couple on Task Rabbit who got the majority of my personal belongs transported to the new place in one trip. For the bit of furniture I had left, a couple of friends came over with their pickup truck and made two trips. After cleaning up the old place, I took one last look around, turned in my keys and with my bike strapped to the rear end of my car, drove off to start a new chapter in my Pacific Northwest adventure.

After getting everything situated in my new place, I sat on my bed, took one deep breath, a quick look around, and said to myself, “Now what?” The move was rough and took a lot more work than anticipated. The thought of heading right back to work the very next day felt like more than I could bear.  Since it was Labor Day and most folks were headed back to Portland, I decided it was the perfect time to treat Cole and myself to a pampered night on the coast. I used some travel points and reserved the nicest room available at the Salishan Spa & Golf Resort. When Cole and I arrived, we were pleasantly surprised to learn that our room was super spacious, had a gas fireplace, balcony overlooking the bay, a jetted jacuzzi tub and super comfy King size bed. I ran into town and picked up some snacks and wine and proceeded to enjoy a night in by the fireplace, watching the sunset over the bay while some relaxing music from my iPod filled the room.

Cole enjoying being dried off on his birthday

The next morning was officially Cole’s 8th birthday so I wanted to make it an extra special day for him. I ordered him his very own room service breakfast to enjoy in bed. We did lots of lounging in bed, listening to the gentle rain fall outside. We went for a walk in the rain and afterward, Cole enjoyed one of his favorite things: a towel rub down to get dry. He always makes the funniest noises while he rolls around in the towel, usually falling over at some point and then wiggling around until he gets his footing and starts the cycle all over again. After I enjoyed a much needed foot treatment at the spa, we took advantage of our late checkout by lounging just a little bit more before hitting the road, heading north along the coast, stopping at Cape Kiwanda to enjoy some beach time before heading back to Portland.

I recently started volunteering at Newspace Center for Photography, helping out at the front desk, answering phones, registering folks for classes and such. There is a group of volunteers who meet once a month to do a photography critique and I’ve been to one meeting so far. Every photographer there is super talented and I’m looking forward to getting to know each of them better. Through one of the staff people at Newspace, I learned of another group called the Portland Photographers Forum which, after checking out their website, seems like a really good fit for me. Soon, I’ll officially be a member and will begin enjoying lectures, outings and opportunities to showcase, and possibly sell, my work. While on the subject of submitting work, I submitted some photography for the first time ever for consideration in a gallery exhibition whose black and white theme seemed like a good fit for what I’ve been most interested in lately. Unfortunately, my work was not selected but, as usual, it was a good learning experience. Soon, I will also begin volunteering at Blue Sky Gallery and already have an opportunity to help with closing down an exhibition to get it ready for the next one.

Last weekend I went hiking with a friend on Mt. Hood at Catalpa Lake. The weather was supposed to be clear but just our luck, the rain did not let up until we had already hiked to the lake and were on our way back to the truck. Cole didn’t seem to mind the rain too much until we were in the truck on our way home where I imagine the lack of movement helped the cold set in.  He did enjoy being wrapped up in a blanket and cuddled most of the way back to Portland though.  Once home, I was pleasantly surprised to learn I could watch the Packers play and then not so pleasantly lose to the Vikings.

Reminiscing with the forest

This past weekend, with the weather beautifully sunny and warm, the same friend and I returned to Mt. Hood and explored some other areas, including one off-road spot near Bonney Meadows. After a mile or two in on the rocky, dirt “road”, we turned back and decided to check out High Rock, where we ran into an older man in the area for a funeral who decided to check in on the forest that he once managed before heading back home to John Day. He told us he started working in forest management when he was 20 years old in 1967 and then pointed out toward the mountain and explained how some of the work was done in specific areas. It was fascinating to listen to him explain the work, it was obvious he had a strong respect for the trees and landscape of the Mt. Hood National Forest. He also explained how the industry changed over the years, especially in the 1990’s, and admitted mistakes were made with the cutting of some areas of the forest. After parting ways with the man, we went to a nearby lake where the fish were jumping and the salamanders were swimming. After leaving the lake, we went to two different meadows where the afternoon light was perfect for photos. Once the sun receded behind the tree line, we began the drive back home.

It’s been a busy couple of months with no signs of slowing down anytime soon. There are lots of things coming up and I look forward to sharing those experiences with you here soon.

To view more of my photography, please visit:
Also, check out my newest and ongoing project: The Spaces Between

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