Nesmith Point was the goal for Memorial Day 2008. It was a gray, cloudy, foggy, drizzly day (though not cold) on the Gorge trail near Warrendale, Ore. The air was so full of water that it felt like it was condensing right on our skin. Plus, it's a steep trek, so it was definitely coming from the inside, too!
Evidently, the trail hasn't had any maintenance this season because there were slides and trees down throughout the journey. It was passable but a bit tricky in spots. The guide book says it's usually snow-free by April. As you can tell from the photo, that's not the case this year. This snow is at about 3,000 feet (out of 3,810). The trail markers ended, and we decided that following random footprints in the snow was not the best idea. Plus, it was so fogged in that we wouldn't have seen a thing from the top anyway (the fog in the photo is not on the lens... that's actually how it looked up there!) So we turned around there, feeling sufficiently worked out.
Today was the Indianapolis 500, and the Wood family gathered for all the action!
Three generations mesmerized by the race.
We ate and watched hours of racing fun, including Jim Nabors, cool wrecks, "Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines," flaming ethanol, the yard of brick, victory milk and Danica Patrick almost pounding another driver in pit row!
Well, I survived my first week as a working woman. I spent a lot of the time getting used to my new environment and duties... and training on the eSIS computer system.
I think I definitely made the right decision to accept the Tigard High position. I'm having fun and the kids and staff are great! And it's been exciting, too... there was a fight my first day right outside our classroom door. And I thought employment outside the news would be boring :)
PS - Do you know how long it's been since I haven't had to work on a government holiday?? I can't remember the last time I had one off. Well, I'm off tomorrow for Memorial Day - WOOHOOO!!!!
On the way south, we spotted "Blue Moon" Odom in the Sacramento airport. He pitched for the Oakland A's when my dad was growing up in the Bay Area. Dad got an autograph and a photo with the three-time World Series winner.
We flew in Saturday and used our free evening to catch a Dodger game. The sunset looks a bit different from the nosebleed seats at Dodger Stadium vs. Seattle's Safeco Field.
Pamela Anderson threw out the first pitch. We NEVER thought we'd be in the same place as her! For my 30th, mom (the ride wiener) rode Space Mountain. For Eryn's 30th, she gave Splash Mountain a try. There was no line, so we were on it before she even realized what was happening. By the way, she sorta liked it! She's starting to realize what's going on :) Wildlife at Disneyland... baby ducks and teenage ducks swimming in Rivers of America. Mom is really good at Astro Blasters. I am not.
Free samples at the Mission Tortilla Factory.... maseca! Dad and Eryn try out the "L" on a cold and drizzly day outside Disney's California Adventure. Grizzly River Rapids... prepare to get SOAKED! I have never been more wet outside of a shower or swimming experience. There was no line for the Maliboomer, so we rode again and again. Then we decided to keep riding for 10 times in a row. About 3 hours later, we were done! SOOO FUN! It's my favorite :)
In my opinion, there's no better place to celebrate a birthday than at Disneyland! Last week, my parents, sister and I (Brad had to miss because of his rock-climbing class) flew to Anaheim to spend Eryn's 30th with Mickey Mouse. Here are a few highlights from May 13 in the park.
Mini Mickey waffles at the Carnation Cafe on Main Street. You like her hat?!?
The fam in front of Rivers of America. Our shirts say, "We're with the birthday girl!" Her shirt says, "It's my birthday!"
Did you know they now have goats at Disneyland?? Eryn LOVES goats!
Birthday coaster ride.
No, there was not a birthday bladder failure. Splash Mountain got the best of her!
Since we love to be outside, it only made sense to celebrate our decade of marriage with a nature adventure. Unfortunately, our idea of a perfect day is 55 and cloudy, maybe with some drizzle. But we braved the near-100-degree weather for a first-time visit to L.L. Stub Stewart State Park near Vernonia, Ore. We read about the amazing trail system and decided to bring the bikes, expecting a casual exploration of Oregon's newest state park (we were picturing a Fort Stevens-like pedal). It never dawned on us that this park is in the Coast Range (mountains!). We parked at the Hilltop Day-Use Area (first clue!) and started making our way along the trails.
No surprise to those who know him, Brad is a natural on the mountain bike. I am not - plus, I haven't been off road in a couple years. The trail conditions were a bit beyond my current ability and comfort level, and I kept saying, "I'm gonna fall on my head." Well, a couple hours later, that's exactly what I did! My front tire rolled into a pothole and stopped. Physics took over, and I flew over the handle bars. My knees are sorta scraped, and I have a nice shiner on one. And the skin on my left elbow is a bit of a mess. Luckily, I think I will survive.
Ten years ago tonight, Brad and I tied the knot ... 10 years ago!!! Both of us were nervous about the wedding but neither was nervous about the marriage. We were meant to be :) And we're still going strong, looking forward to the next 10 years!
The McKee siblings gathered this evening at Outback Steakhouse to celebrate my grandfather's 88th birthday. Pat and Dave drove up from Eugene, John and Nancy drove from Shaver Lake, Calif., Cindy and Don drove from Surprise, Ariz., (actually, from their summer home at the Oregon Coast) and Mark and Kati drove from Tigard. Eryn, Brad and I were representatives of the next generation. After pounding down bread, a bloomin' onion, a steak and a birthday sundae, Grandpa declared that he was full!
It was great to be included in such an awesome occasion. I hope we have many more birthdays to celebrate together.
Karen asked if I was interested in a mid-week hike this week..... duh! We met up Wednesday afternoon at the Angel's Rest trail head off I-84 in the Gorge. It was a little drippy, but not cold. And we stayed plenty warm as we hoofed it up 1,500 feet in about 2 miles (plus, I had my pack loaded down with bottles of pop and sports drink). We saw only a few other people on the trail and had the top to ourselves as we enjoyed our snacks and took in the view.
Anytime anyone wants to hit the trail, call me and I'm there :) -Liz
After nearly a year off, I am re-entering the workforce. For those who don't know my history, I resigned last June after nine years at KOIN-TV in Portland. Knowing I did not want to return to TV news, I've since been looking for my next great adventure - whatever that would be.
In the past few days I was offered two jobs - similar administrative assistant/secretarial positions at two schools. After some freaking out, I decided I was feeling a stronger call to the job at Tigard High School. So I start May 19 in the (CE)2 department, an alternative education program for juniors and seniors. It's part time and comes with summers off - a major bonus. (That means I can keep volunteering at Medical Teams!) I'm excited and nervous about starting a whole new career, but the comfortable and familiar THS setting helps calm my anxiety.
Thanks for all of you who supported me and prayed for me through my tough times at KOIN, through my transition out of that place and through my search for my next place in life :)
A whole bunch of friends joined us Sunday for a snowshoe/ski trek part way up Mount Hood. We started at Timberline Lodge (6,000 feet) and went to the top of the Palmer ski lift (8,500 feet). We couldn't have asked for a better day. It was warm and calm and mostly cloud-free. The top of the mountain looked amazing!
Part of our group at the top of the snowfield
(Liz, Tasha, Ben, Brad & Doug)
When we headed down from our summit, we decided to glissade (sliding on our butts, using ice axes to control our descent). Thinking ahead, I had brought along my WHAM-O sled, basically a piece of thin foam with a slick plastic coating (similar to this), for just such an occasion. A Sno-Cat had just laid a fresh track of corduroy, so I sat down at the top of the steep run, lifted my feet and began my fateful slide. I really should have thought that through a bit better. Within a split second, I was gaining too much speed. I put a foot down, but instead of slowing me, it flipped me around so my head was mostly pointed downhill. After a couple seconds of panic, I was able to self arrest. But in my haste to get going, I had neglected to tie my WHAM-O to my waist, so it started flying down the hill all by itself. Luckily, I ran and caught up to it, avoiding losing another piece of equipment to the White River Canyon.
My friends and husband all watched in horror as this unfolded. But I survived unharmed, so my ride on the WHAM-O became a funny joke for the rest of the trip down. I tied my sled to my waist, stayed off the groomers, kept my speed under control and had a splendid ride the rest of the way.
The weekend before Mother's Day is one of my favorites of the year - the plant sale at the fairgrounds in Canby! My mom, sis and I scour the rows of vendors for great deals and fun additions to our gardens. We learned a lot over the years, like bringing the garden cart for our loot and driving in the back way to avoid a huge back up on the highway. It's hugely popular, and we always see lots of people we know.
Now comes the fun part: fitting all my beauties in my yard. And as an added bonus, I stopped by Ma's house Friday and she loaded me up with bags and bags and bags of starts from her garden!
My once-white trillium are fading to a deep purple. It's beautiful, but it also means they are dying and will soon be but a distant memory. Blossoms on my huge (taller than my house!) rhodie are starting to open. Unlike the trillium, they start purple and then turn white. I like the freckles! And I love this pulmonaria that sits right next to my pathway. Little pink and blue flowers sit atop the speckled leaves - two colors in one. -Liz :)
Five years ago today, President Bush stood aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier and announced that "major combat operations in Iraq have ended." (read more) Behind him hung the infamous "mission accomplished" banner. Five years ago.