Much respect

I was raised by a stay-at-home mom. Through our frequent moves, she was a source of stability. I never thought that her work was easier than moms who worked outside the home. Different, not easy.

Over the last month, I have been reminded how hard homemakers work. There’s always a meal to be prepared, a floor to be swept, clothes to be laundered, infernal weeds to be pulled, errands to be run… it is endless. And, I am only looking after adults. 

What happened to the Pinterest wonderland from my last stint as a trailing spouse? Anything I’ve pinned over the last word weeks deals with eradication of weeds and pests. Word to the wise, vinegar weed killer is pretty rank. Ask me about its effectiveness later this week. 

Despite my whining, I am thankful for time to find the right job. I appreciate Mr. McB for putting up with my craziness. Even though it cuts into my Pinterest time, I am fortunate to have a freelance gig.

I am also in awe of homemakers. They’ve got nothing but respect from me.

Catching up

Louisiana welcome signDespite my best intentions, I didn’t have the energy to chronicle my drive from Oregon to Louisiana with nightly posts. I have photos and stories, so those posts will come.

I have been running since arriving in Baton Rouge on the 18th. It took a few days to complete the work that Mr. McB began in the house. Most of the heavy lifting is done with just the storeroom left to organize. Some decorating remains, but it feels like home. We are establishing little routines and building the “boring” domestic life we longed for.

I forgot just how taxing daily life can be after a move. WAZE is my best friend. Though even after I find the store, I don’t know where to find the items I need. There are no quick errands when everything is foreign. In the grand scheme, this is a minor complaint, but it doesn’t ward off the anxiety and exhaustion. We all have those moments for one reason or another.

I find myself surrounded by helpful souls who are willing to aid in my transition. Their kindness and concern is overwhelming, in all the right ways. My spirits are also buoyed by thoughtful friends and technology that shrinks the distance between us. Time spent with family fills my heart with a peace and happiness that knows no words. 

A new job will come. For now I am keeping busy with the search, freelance work, settling in and caring for our little family. It’s amazing how those items manage to keep me busy.

Life is good and I am thankful for every minute.

Are we there yet?

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Head east on…

Here’s the drive ahead of me.

13 June Corvallis to Redmond, OR
14 June Redmond, OR to Pocatello, ID
15 June Pocatello, ID to Cortez, CO
16 June Cortez, CO to Albuquerque, NM
17 June Albuquerque, NM to Wichita Falls, TX
18 June Wichita Falls, TX to Baton Rouge, LA

Here’s a Google map that shows all the stops. I’m excited about seeing Arches and Mesa Verde.

Got a recommendation for food or sightseeing? Post it in the comments.

A lot to catch up on

“You should get back to writing on your website.”  A sweet friend, who speaks the truth

So much has happened since my last post. For starters, we are in the process of moving to Baton Rouge. Actually, I am in the process. Mr. McB is there and furiously unpacking. I love him for that.

I am a trailing spouse and on the job hunt again. That’s OK, I have been here before. I remember the lessons.

I am leaving Oregon and saying goodbye to dear friends, that is hard. I am leaving Oregon with a sense that I wasn’t tough enough for this wild place, that is equally difficult. Kind souls have told me that isn’t the case, but I can’t shake the feeling. Expect more on that as I have five days in the car to listen to loud music and think.

Feels good to shake off the cobwebs. Until later…

Various vittles

I haven’t blogged in a while and haven’t created a restaurant review in months. I am making up for lost time with several mini reviews in a series of posts. This will focus on eateries located near Corvallis.

Breakfast

In both Columbus and Greenville we had a hard time selecting a breakfast location, but for completely different reasons. In Columbus, there were too many delicious choices and in Greenville, there were too few. With a dearth of tasty breakfast restaurants, I became quite skilled at making breakfast and while my abilities grew, so did my standards.

breakfast, yogurt, egg, fruitThis is the rushed weekday breakfast at our house. Any restaurant has to beat this, and offer excellent service, to get my breakfast business.

Corvallis has both an Elmer’s and Shari’s. These are comparable to Bob Evan’s or Cracker Barrel, well maybe not quite CB. They offer a number of options ranging from indulgent to reasonably healthy. Both can have long lines on the weekends but this is to be expected, especially in the fall.

Darrell’s used to be an option for breakfast, though we only ever took advantage of breakfast- all-day and ate there in the evening. I had cheese blintz with strawberries and home fries the last time I ate there. The food memories cause my mouth to water but alas, this is no longer an option.

Tommy’s 4th Street Bar & Grill is another local diner with a big breakfast menu.  Once again, we have only eaten there in the evening. I had the crunchy strawberry French toast. The portion was more than generous; the taste was quite satisfying though the berries weren’t fresh. Here are some photos from a visit in December when I ordered a patty melt with onion rings (delicious despite the grease) and M had a massive omelette.

tommy's patty melt corvallis, or tommy's breakfast

Tommy’s allows you to select a pancake as a “side” for your breakfast. M doesn’t like potatoes so this is a fine option for him.

Finally, Philomath brings us donuts from NutCakes. These things might as well be called “crack-cakes” since there must be an illegal substance in the batter; it is the only thing that explains the amazing flavor. I have enjoyed the maple bacon donut, a must for any good donut shop in Oregon, and the buttermilk bar. Both are delicious. The bear claw was the only disappointment since I wasn’t expecting to find chopped up apples inside.

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There are some good options here but we still eat breakfast at home most of the time. It’s a comfortable part of our routine.

Lunch and dinner

IMG_1007While it isn’t perfect, we have made Cibelli’s our go-to pizza parlor. Their flavorful pies are made with quality ingredients. This is some of the best pizza I’ve had in Oregon but it wouldn’t touch some of the good New York style shops in Greenville. The staff is friendly and the pickup estimates are always accurate. On one visit, they accidentally made a 24″ pizza for us instead of the 14″ we ordered. I took home a monstrous pizza (would only fit in the trunk) for the price of a much smaller pie.

There are a number of brewpubs and casual dining spots in Corvallis. I was not impressed with Flat Tail Brewing, the flavors and variety weren’t there. Squirrel’s Tavern is a decent option. The tots are delicious. After an undercooked burger, I will stick with the salad. Brew BBQ is really very good. If a Southerner tells you that your BBQ joint is good, that’s a big compliment. Downward Dog has phenomenal chicken fingers with an espresso stout BBQ sauce. At $4, this healthy appetizer is a steal. The chicken is so juicy and the light smoky flavor is a great balance for the tangy sauce.

Until a few weeks ago, I was a huge fan of Sky High Brewing. The oyster po’boy was my tried-and-true selection. I finally took Mr. McB a few weeks ago and found that the oysters had a strong, unpleasant flavor; I only ate about half of my sandwich because it was so noticeable. The tots arrived lukewarm which was another big disappointment. The Mister picked pizza. At first, he really liked it but as he ate a bit more, the story changed. I took a bite and immediately tasted cinnamon, making the whole pizza taste like Skyline Chili. Thanks, but no thanks.

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Two spots we really liked were Fireworks in Corvallis and The Woodsman in Philomath.
Fireworks showcases their wood fired oven with their sizable menu. Mr. McB ordered pizza. The crust was light and crispy with a zesty sauce and generous supply of peps and cheese. I had the Polynesian pulled pork. I love tangy food and this sandwich didn’t let me down. The handout fries are also made in the wood-fired oven. It’s a small place and the meals do take time so pack your patience.

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Woodsman in Philomath OregonThe Woodsman might not look like much on the outside but it is a stellar Thai restaurant. The massive portions are piled with fresh ingredients. I enjoy the pad Thai and also find the stir-fry dishes to be very flavorful. You can easily eat your fill at the restaurant and still bring home enough for a couple of lunches.

Before wrapping this up, let me cover two restaurants on Monroe near OSU. University Calzone, my tastebuds would visit weekly but my waistline won’t let me.

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Bombs Away Cafe, you gave me chips from the bottom of a bag and lukewarm queso. Your food was either bland or unappealing. For me, you are a one-and-done restaurant.

Bombs away cafe

Take me to Tillamook

Last weekend we decided to take advantage of the sunshine and unseasonable warmth with a drive up to Tillamook. The scenic drive took us a little over two hours. We made it to the Tillamook Cheese Factory shortly after 11. I’ll share more about this fun experience in a separate post.

After lunch at cheese heaven, we started on the Three Capes Scenic Route. Our first stop was Cape Lookout. The state park was a very popular place on this gorgeous day.

Cape Lookout CrowdsWe started with the beach. Our walking sticks were in the trunk of the car and we really could have used them as we scrambled down the rocks to reach the sand. One day we’ll learn.

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After nearly breaking both my face and my camera on the walk back up the rocks, we decided to follow the north trail. The trail is constructed in a way that the climb is relatively gentle. Seeing the Pacific from a dense forest is something that I’m still not quite accustomed to. It’s glorious but still not something I expect.

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Our climb stopped when we reached this part of the trail. Without our walking sticks and my hiking shoes, this wasn’t even in the realm of possibility.

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We decided to head back to the car and head on to Cape Kiwanda. We arrived to find very little available parking. I let Mr. McB out of the car and then navigated to a little market where I could grab much-needed water and park for a few minutes. He walked over to the beach to get a few snaps of Haystack Rock.

After a short stop, we headed toward Cape Meares. The road to the park has seen better days. I am certain that these potholes have claimed a tire or two in their day.

After reaching the park, we started out in the lighthouse for the brief tour. We learned that much was expected of lighthouse keepers. In addition to the demands of their regular duties, they also had to appease the inspectors.  One keeper’s wife received a demerit because she did not finish folding laundry before she began dinner. Your house was to be pristine at all times; I am so glad that I am not a lighthouse keeper.

We enjoyed a walk after the tour.

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We also saw the Sitka spruce known as the Octopus Tree.

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Our next stop was the Girabaldi House, our home for the night. It’s a comfortable, clean hotel with niceties like an evening reception, popcorn machine and indoor pool. It’s close to the bay, which provided a gorgeous setting for our evening walk.

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The activity of the clamers added something special to this stunning sunset. It was a perfect evening.

On Sunday morning, we began at Rockaway Beach at low tide.

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This intriguing pattern covered large expanses of the beach.

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We climbed back in the car and stopped briefly to see the Three Graces before driving back to Tillamook.

DSC_0941We stopped at the Blue Heron French Cheese Company. Before noon, we owned a wheel of rich creamy brie and I learned just how quickly a goat can bite and just how much that hurts.

I was sorry to see this superb weekend end but I am thankful for its restorative powers. This little getaway gave me the calm and clarity needed to face a challenging week.

Not an easy fix

Sorry for stepping away from this blog for so many months. At first, it was all a matter of time. I couldn’t force myself to come home and write after spending hours in front of a computer screen each day.

When Mr. McB arrived in town after Labor Day, I wanted to spend time with him. When he adapted quickly to life in Oregon while I continued to struggle, I didn’t want to talk or write about it. I also had no interest in creating a fictional existence where all was rosy and bright.

Truth is, I am still trying to find my way. Admitting that is hard. I am also working too many hours to make that adjustment any easier for myself. It’s my own bad choice and don’t want pity, I just want to be honest about it. Without honesty, this blog becomes little more than a highlight reel ripe for unrealistic comparisons.

So, I am working on it. On the professional front, help will be on the way soon. Summer also brings at least a moment to breathe. 

Personally, I looking forward to little getaways. I am eager to explore, with Mr. McB or on my own if his work schedule continues to be a challenge. I vow to leave my desk at lunch at least once a week. I am indulging in a 60 minute massage every six weeks. I am making time to call and email family and East Coast friends. I might try a  little container gardening. I am getting back to blogging on at least a weekly basis. In short, I am getting back to taking care of myself.