Regaining the magic

I have vague recollections of the flights I took as a youngster. The oldest memories are fuzzy fragments – seeing blue lights illuminating the runway at night, receiving a pair of wings just like the pilot’s, wishing I had a jar to catch some clouds…. Somewhere between the bumpy rides on puddle jumpers and adulthood, what was once magic became routine.

Fast forward to 2008 and my cousin’s wedding. We decided to fly to Kansas City as a family. This included my grandparents and aunt who had never flown before. If you asked me then, I might have described the trip as a “production” instead of an adventure. I love my family but that’s a lot of moving parts.

My grandfather was a tall man so we arranged for his seat to be in the aisle but he was far more interested in the view than legroom. We shuffled him into a window seat. I’m not sure Pop talked to us at all during that flight. He was not a quiet man so this is notable. Throughout the flight his gaze rarely left the window. This was clearly someone who was capable of wonder and understood that safely speeding through the air is nothing short of miraculous.  

I have to admit that I remarked on it but it really didn’t change me very much. Flights were to primarily to be endured, not savored. When we flew back to Kansas City for another cousin’s wedding, I remember Pop’s perplexed, and perhaps mildly disgusted, expression as we put on headphones, pulled out magazines, and started all sorts of tasks that took us out of the experience. We could have it our way but he was opting for fascination and exploration.

Somewhere along the way, and it might have been the first flight I took after he passed, that I realized that I was wasting a perfectly good opportunity to experience awe and joy, two emotions that far too many adults are lacking in their lives. Now, I savor the glorious moment when the plane leaves the ground and begins to climb toward the heavens. I find myself peering out the window and counting my blessings. I don’t have a perfect life but it’s full of wonderful people and amazing opportunities. There’s something about lifting off the ground that puts everything into perspective.

These photos were taken on a recent flights between Portland and Seattle. I think he would approve.

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

   

         


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Yaquina Head Photos

I finally remembered to pick up an SD card reader so here are the photos from Yaquina Head. I have photos from the aquarium too but those need a bit more TLC. For anyone considering a visit to the House of McB, these photos were taken just about 75 minutes from our house. Yes, we can take you there. Yes, you will need a coat; no, I really don’t care what time of year it is.

 

It’s a whale. I promise.

Yaquina Head, OregonYaquina Head, Oregonwhale spout Yaquina Head, OregonLandscape and lighthouse

Yaquina Head, Oregon

Yaquina Head, Oregon

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Harbor seals sunning themselves on the rocks.

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Cobble Beach, a result of a basalt lava flow some 14 million years ago

cobble beach oregoncobble beach oregonThere is a sign that explains that many little creates live under the cobbles. It might not be the safest place in the world. The beach itself was a little tricky to navigate in flip-flops. Mr. McB is pigeon-toed and prone to twisted ankles so he’ll definitely have to sport his hiking boots when we visit Yaquina Head.

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When home isn’t “home”

I had the great fortunate traveling to Burlington, Vermont for CASE’s Summer Institute in Communications and Marketing last week. Quick review… Burlington is an adorable little town. The “crepedilla” from Skinny Pancake might be one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. If you are a marcom professional working in higher ed, beg your boss to send you to this conference. You will come home with fantastic contacts, good ideas, and a determination to become more strategic instead of simply being a task monkey.

After recovering from the red-eye, I found that my body happily adapted to being back on Eastern time. I had settled into a comfortable routine and rhythm in Corvallis but there was just something about being back on the East Coast that put me at ease. When I wasn’t in sessions or catching up on work, I could easily chat with friends and family without thinking of the time difference. I wasn’t prepared to feel at home in Vermont but I did.

Maybe a little too at home…

On Thursday night when I was waiting for my plane to leave JFK, I had the strongest urge to simply not come back. I was boarding a plane to go home but suddenly, Oregon just wasn’t home. I felt a tightness in my chest and tears bubbled near the surface when I thought about coming back to a place that is so far away from family and dearest friends. I seriously planned my escape. I pondered what I would need to do to get my checked bag. I wondered if I could call my husband’s family in NYC to have a place to land for a few days.

Thankfully, I am far too responsible and boringly predictable for all of that. I got on the plane and made my way back to PDX. I wasn’t happy but I was coming back. When I woke up on Friday morning, I cried and questioned what I had done. It had been weeks since I felt like that. I went into work on Friday afternoon and kept myself busy with tasks. I was so tired that work pushed away all my anxiety and sad thoughts.

I knew I had to get a handle on this so I treated myself by stepping away from work and driving to the coast yesterday. I had a great time in Newport and felt that maybe, just maybe, I could get used to this. Part of this is doing a better job of taking care of myself, one cannot center everything in her life around work. Fun has to be a part of the equation.

I don’t regret my choice but this opportunity didn’t come without sacrifice. That’s true of many things in life. I am not writing this for sympathy. I want to faithfully document this whole move and just like with life, skipping over the rough parts isn’t an option.

 

Tastes of Oregon

On Friday, I had the opportunity to sample some delicious new flavors. The first was the coconut oatmeal cookie created by Mennonite bakers. That is a delicious flavor combo. Overall, I prefer an oatmeal scotchie but the coconut oatmeal is not as rich, making it a better choice for summer.

On Friday night, I sampled the bacon guacamole from Del Alma. I enjoy my guac with loads of lime and cilantro so I wasn’t sure about this concoction featuring bacon, chipotle peppers, and chopped hazelnuts but it turned out to be so good that my taste buds did a little dance. The hazelnuts were a perfect balance to the heat of the peppers. The bacon appeared in thick, flavorful chunks. It isn’t an everyday guac, but it is delightful!

Yesterday, I thought I would order a pizza because I had good experiences on Friday and good things come in threes, right?

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Wrong! Woodstocks delivered this pizza in a timely fashion and they use quality cheese. That ends my list of positives. The crust was burnt on the edge and soggy on the bottom. The sauce tasted like spaghetti sauce and the seasonings didn’t belong on a Hawaiian pizza or any pizza for that matter. This pizza was not great cold on day two. At least American Dream had that going for them. A good pizza is hard to find in Corvallis!

Pretty little pity party

Sing it Puddles!

Generally, I am not one to feel sorry for myself or at least not one to wallow in it. That has not been the case over the last few days.

Until a couple of weeks ago, Mr. McB and I thought that he would be able to make a visit here in conjunction with a  business trip to California. Plans changed and that all evaporated. I was sad but then on Thursday, the day he was to arrive, I just hit rock bottom. I saw the shuttle that would have brought him from Portland to Corvallis no less than four times during the day. Normally, I might see it once in four days. I sat in the parking lot at work and cried. It was not a good day.

Thursday was also crappy because once again Anytime Fitness refused to accept documentation that would allow me to cancel our contract. They keep moving the goal line when it comes to what we need and it is infuriating. They have six different pieces of information but keep asking for something else even though what I am providing what they ask for. They also didn’t freeze our account as promised. It is corrected now but I’m annoyed that I had to follow up on it and ask for the charge to be reversed.

I was also frustrated because the trash company did not take away the cans left by the previous tenants, even though I was assured that they would. I also still have car parts, including an entire exhaust system, in my garage. Not major things but I cannot stand it when people don’t do the service I am paying them for. I don’t have time to call repeatedly but I don’t have much of a choice.

Friday, I woke up grouchy but pulled out of it when I was able to spend the evening with friends and their family. It was nice and I felt better.

Saturday, I was able to get a local bank account without any fuss. I went to the farmer’s market. I was really having a great day. I decided to take advantage of the gorgeous weather and head to the shore. I made it 10 minutes down the road when my “check engine” light came on. I was able to make it in to Firestone only to learn that my catalytic converter is toast. Thankfully, I have a wonderful friend who just happens to be getting his Ph.D. in automotive engineering and he made sure I knew that the federal government requires automakers to have nice long warranties on catalytic converters. The warranty covers eight years and 80,000 miles and I am at 7 years and 75,488 miles. I should have focused on how fortunate I was to be safe and to know that at least part of the repair is covered under warranty. Instead, I picked up the “woe is me” flag and there was more crying last night.

Today I am finally getting in the right frame of mind. I went to church and was very touched by the message. I remembered that I am never alone and even when things seem hopeless, I’m not doing the heavy lifting on my own.

I am thankful for my Creator, my family, and my friends. They all sustain me during the rough times and love me even when I decide to throw a pity party.

 

Oregon, so far

I’ve been in Corvallis for just over two weeks now. How am I feeling?

From the professional standpoint, the slow start is over. I feel like I’m handling tasks but not necessarily in the most strategic way. It’s just about getting things done and filing away notes about how to get a handle on the procedures. I hate it but it’s a necessary part of the process, at least my process. I can’t decide how a project should be handled if I don’t stumble through a few times. I feel that I’m about to make a breakthrough but I’m just not there yet.

I should say that I am very thankful to be working with such a nice group of people who are ready to assist and are very patient with my questions.

From the personal side, I am getting over those early days when the newness of a place is almost more than you can handle. If you haven’t ever moved, trust me when I say that the first week or two in a new place is just a struggle. Everything takes longer. Everything takes effort. Even if you find a grocery store, the layout and some of the products are new to you. Oh and don’t forget your reusable shopping bags if you think you might make a stop at any kind of store. There is no mindless supermarket run or stop for takeout on the way home from work. Menus are different; traffic flow is unfamiliar.¬† It’s silly just how exhausting everyday life can be when adjusting to a new place.

I left temporary housing behind on Thursday morning and am in our new home. It feels good to be in my own space and I can see Mr. McB and I settling in nicely, even if his arrival is still months away. Things are pretty organized now. Both our new bed and Mr. McB’s new chair will arrive this week. It’s my job to break both in before he arrives in September so sleeping in the middle of the bed and mindless TV viewing are in my future.

photo 1(1)This Saturday, I did make it to the Saturday market where I found a load of fresh produce. My haul is below.

photo 3(3)Dinosaur kale, white zucchini, normal zucchini, and yellow zucchini along The yellow tomatoes were a supermarket find.
These ingredients were combined with crushed tomatoes and cannellini to make a delicious Tuscan kale soup.

photo 4(1)Cherry plums and Marionberries, an Oregon speciality
Ninety percent of the world’s Marionberries are grown near Salem. They taste like sweet blackberries.

On Saturday evening, I discovered the walking trails near our home. They stretch for miles and are wide enough for cyclists and walkers. One stretch of the path leads to Philomath and passes by fields on the way. Since the grasses were just cut back, there was plenty of animal activity. There were birds of prey flying high above and little rabbits scurrying to safety.

photo 2(1) photo 3(1) photo 4I might still rely on Siri to get to the post office and church, but I’m learning a little more each day. All in all, I’d say it’s a pretty good start.

 

 

 

 

 

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Oregon Trail Days Five and Six

I’m just getting back to rounding out the trip.

Day Five
Instead of taking in more of Boise, I decided to get an oil change on my way out of town.

I had decided to spend the night in Redmond near Bend so that meant getting off the interstate and taking route 20 through Oregon. The landscape is pretty interesting. There were hills and mountains. At one point, I felt like I was weaving around giant anthills. This is also a very lonely stretch of road. It is a place where a single gas pump is worth noting and the FM stations fade out.

I don’t have any photos because there really aren’t many places to stop and I wanted to keep moving.

I was in Redmond by early afternoon. I settled in at the lodge where I was staying.

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I wanted to go on a long walk but it was chilly and fatigue was taking over. I passed out pretty early.

Day Six
I was eager to reach Corvallis which meant getting up and out early. The road was an interesting one. I was driving on a wet, foggy morning which made the sunken grade and switchbacks just a bit more challenging. I know a few people, including Mr. McB who are too prone to motion sickness to enjoy this stretch of road.

I was in Corvallis before 9:30. Below are a few pictures that I took on my first day. The images are from my temporary housing. I look forward to exploring and learning more.

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