Sunday, April 10, 2011

A few quick things

I'm still working on an illustrated account of the remainder of my trip to the John Day Fossil Beds/Bend with my boyfriend.

This week was the one-year anniversary of our first date, and I got a food dehydrator! I am quite excited about all of its uses. For one thing, I can stop using the oven to dry out citrus peels. (This is one of the things I do that outsiders might find odd - I save the peels, especially during winter citrus season, from every citrus fruit I eat and put them in my oven so that the low heat from preheating my oven/letting it cool when it's been shut off eventually dries them. Then I use them for teas or I grind them up, as needed, to use as a spice.) I can start drying other fruits for snacks. I can even dry vegetables to rehydrate later. Things I wouldn't think of drying! I can make jerky! I can even use it to make granola, which is probably much more energy efficient than using the oven! And it can be used for crafts. CRAFTS!!!! I can dry flowers!!!!! I also got him a kitchen gift. We are very practical gift givers. I got a vacuum for my birthday, and I got it a month early because he wanted to stop me from going to Fred Meyer's big vacuum sale.

I also turned 27 this week. I got to do a lot of fun things to celebrate, and I will write about that later.

I've finally been to Eugene now, after nearly two years of living in the state and having a friend in Eugene. Prior to this visit, I'd certainly driven through Eugene, but never stopped in Eugene. I did some field work at a preserve that might have been in Eugene, but I don't count that. I think it was actually in a different town or maybe unincorporated Lane County.

All of this traveling outside of Portland, but within Oregon, especially to other Oregonian cities, has made me remember why I moved here from New Jersey and also made me realize that, even when Portland is really getting on my nerves, I still love Oregon. That should have been obvious to me much earlier, but it didn't sink in until these last two driving trips.

I also realize that I have not written why Portland sometimes drives me nuts. It does! This is not to say I am unhappy here, far from it. No place is perfect, I knew all along that Portland would not be perfect, and now I just know in which ways it is not perfect.

Hiking in Eugene yesterday, I saw a wild native orchid! It was great!!!! Here is a fuzzy phone picture; soon I will try to get one that someone else took to show you what it really looks like.

From Mount Pisgah Arboretum

Behold, Calypso bulbosa.

School is interesting and work is good. I am not used to so much stability. I have to remind myself that there is nothing big to worry about, at least not for now.

School makes me want to talk more and write more about topics I've avoided in the past. One of the best of these first lessons from Government School is that topics on which I've had plenty of opinions, but felt unqualified to discuss publicly, I now feel empowered to talk about. My views haven't even changed that much, but now I have the language to present them without feeling like no one will take me seriously. And then I got straight A's last term, so I feel even more confident that with what I am learning at the Hatfield School of Government, I will be able to make real positive changes in the world. Now I have a lot more things to say that will appear on this blog!

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