Monday, December 31, 2007

Long Visit with my Daughter

This weekend my mom and I made the trip down late Friday night to stay with Nicolette and Ellie for the weekend. I had acquired a pretty nasty cold over Christmas and actually slept in my mom's car Friday night instead of on the couch because I didn't want to keep Kim up.
On Saturday Joe came over and we all went for a walk around the town with Ellie in her stroller stopping for coffee at Starbucks and meeting up with a few of Joe's friends on the street as well. I was able to play with Ellie all afternoon and she even called me "Daddy" a few times. She showed me her dance moves and spoke a whole slew of words she's working on throughout the day. She is growing up soo fast. It seemed like she was so much older already even though I last saw her only two weeks ago. She eats like a fiend and can easily be cheered up when she is crying. I take comfort in knowing that I can put a smile on her face very easily and she is completely calm when I'm holding her to my chest. On car rides she snuggles up with her blanket and falls asleep to classical music. She is so wonderful. For dinner on Saturday night we had a big pot of my mom's spaghetti for dinner which was delicious and I'm pretty sure Ellie liked it a lot too as she had it all over her face.
On Sunday we all went to church in the morning. Ellie looked so cute in her red dress and bow in her hair. Only Joe took communion which confused me a little bit why Nicolette didn't. After church Ellie ran all about full of energy and then took a long nap in the afternoon from all the excitement. We then went out to Target in the afternoon to get some stuff (Ellie got more toys of course also) before coming back to the house.
On both Saturday and Sunday night Nicolette and I had a lot of time to catch up on things when everyone else went to bed. I think we reached a common ground between us and I think we both understand each other a lot better now. I talked about my childhood and past and she talked about hers as well. She told me how difficult it is to be a single mom and I told her how difficult things have been for me at school and financially as well. The outcome of both nights is that I feel much more comfortable talking with her now and I think we both understand each other a lot better. I now feel comfortable calling her whenever it strikes me and I can tell that she knows I love Ellie with all my heart and am truly trying my best to do what is right for her. It was a great visit and I look forward to seeing them both again soon whenever I have the time and can afford to make the trip home again.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas with the Riggotts

This Christmas I promised Emily that I would go down to her family's for the holiday. My parents understood I needed to do this because I felt it very important to show them that Emily and I are deeply in love and her future move across the country to be with me is warranted.
So, on December 23rd Emily and I spent the evening at my parents opening early presents and having a nice ham dinner. Emily got a crock pot and I got a year supply of contacts thankfully because I was running out. I also got ANOTHER oyster shucker... I now have about 7 of them. Hopefully my mom will remember and not buy me another. My parents loved the book I made for them with iPhoto about my first full year in Oregon. I included pictures of all my hikes, my rescue trainings, trips, Ellie, Emily etc. I was especially happy that my dad now had something he could hold in his hands because it's too hard for him to get to the computer and see my photos online.
On Christmas Eve Emily and I drove down to East Granby, CT to have dinner with her brother Nick and his wife Jen in their beautiful new home. I've never seen so many Christmas decorations in one place before! She made prime rib for dinner and it was amazing. I had two helpings even though I had eaten a bunch of shrimp that were set out before dinner as well. As per family tradition, we all had a shot of Wild Turkey before dinner as well to warm our stomachs. Nick and Jen have a very spoiled pug dog Samson. He's a chubby little dog with crazy googly eyes who seems to get the attention of the entire family. He even is allowed to sit at the table during dinner on someones lap. Until one of the Riggott children have a child he is the child of the family.
On Christmas Day we all opened presents. I got a Starbucks gift card from Emily's cousin and a beautiful soft shirt from Emily's parents. I think Emily really liked the white gold and diamond heart necklace I gave her. It has two hearts on it but they aren't connected. I wanted to symbolize that although we are strong, independent people, her heart will always hold mine inside no matter the distance we are separated. For dinner her mom made her famous Lasagna which I thought was fantastic. I loved the sauce, it was perfect for lasagna. The next day Emily and had a quick lunch with her parents and her older brother Chris from Portland, ME before we all headed our separate ways. I had a wonderful time with her parents and really hit it off well with her father. It was the first time Emily had ever brought home a significant other for the holidays so it was a big deal for both of us. I think it went very well and after showing the whole family a bunch of photos from Oregon I think I made a pretty good impression and was able to convey the beauty and excitement of Oregon to them as well. Who knows where Emily and I will be next Christmas but I know I'd love to spend it with her family again if possible.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Drinks with Hoobler

Emily has two friends, Chris Deschamps, and a guy named Hoobler who work for MapInfo. If I was home instead of in graduate school I would definitely be in touch with these guys about finding me a job for the company. Hoobler was lucky enough to apply for a job in Sydney and get it! He now lives in beautiful Sydney Australia working for a map making company. What a life! So, when we went out for drinks with the guys on last night Hoobler and I definitely hit it off talking about various things in Australia that we were both familiar with. Unfortunately for Hoobler he drank wayyyy to much and had to be walked home by Chris and Po-Po who had to chase him down several times as he started to run after cute girls he saw on the street... completely harmless though. For most of the night he had my jacket on... I'm not sure why but he thought he looked like some scary movie mass murderer with it on. I also got the horrible reminder of how much drinks cost in Saratoga. I got 10 shots for everyone at "buy one get one free" so it was essentially buying 5 shots... for 25$!!! What??? 5$ a shot.... that's ridiculous... I'm too used to the cheaper prices in Corvallis I guess. At the bullpen Emily and I got into a game of darts with two very drunk guys. We won and in the process their drunkeness led to a dart actually banking off the dartboard into the ceiling above (look carefully at the photo for it). In any case we had a great night and I really enjoy hanging out with all of Emily's friends and although they are mostly all guys I totally trust her with all of them and know they will have her back in any bad situation.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Stowe Ski Trip

Emily planned a ski vacation to Stowe, Vt before I came home over break. She happened to choose the same day as a massive Nor'Easter as well. Emily and her friends Kim, Champs, Po-Po and I all spent Saturday night at a very nice motel at the Base of Stowe before skiing all day on Sunday in nearly 2 feet of fresh, fluffy powder. On the way to Stowe on Saturday afternoon we stopped to take a tour of the Ben & Jerry's ice cream factory in town. It was a very quick tour that ended with a sampling of ice cream at the end. Camera's weren't allowed on the tour so I couldn't get any photos inside the building. We learned that over 60 flavors have been retired because they didn't appeal to the public enough over the years. Saturday night we went out to the Shed for dinner and then another bar before heading back to the motel with booze to play card games and watch ski videos. We all got pretty damn drunk. The next morning we had a terrific free breakfast with the deal and headed to the mountain which had already received nearly a foot of powder overnight. We had a great day skiing powder all afternoon and I even got to jump a few pretty decent sized ledges in the trees. Emily loved her new skis and even tried to ski backwards a few times with her new twin tip K2 True Loves. The ride home was slow going and slippery. I had the peddle pegged at 60mph going up over the pass at Killington but the Emily's car was only going about 40mph. We stopped for pizza in Rutland and made the 2.5hr trip in 5 hours with the storm. It was great to actually ski powder in the Northeast on the one time I got to ski over December while home. Thanks Emily!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Visiting Matt & Sarah Jones and Ellie

Thursday night I was able to take my mom's car down to visit Matt & Sarah Jones in Brooklyn for the night. It had been well over a year since I'd seen them last and it was really great to be able to catch up with them. Matt and I had several bottles of wine before Sarah got home from her long rotation at the hospital working with children. Matt told me she works ridiculous hours and is often burnt out. She got up at 4am to head back to the hospital after coming home at 10:30pm that night. I don't know how she is handling all the work. Matt himself lost his job at SeaBass because of downsizing but was able to find another job with better pay and benefits the day after his last day at SeaBass so good for him.
Friday morning I got up early and headed over to Greenwich to see my little girl. Nicolette had been at a company party overnight at a swank hotel so Ellie had stayed the night with her aunt Amanda before being dropped off to daycare the next morning. So, I went straight to Daycare and after showing some ID was allowed to go play with Ellie and her teachers. There were about 8 kids in Ellie's class and all were walking around just fine. Some were working on their words and they all seemed to like bouncy balls. I brought in a stuffed dog for Ellie to play with which instantly became the new toy of all the children. At first Ellie was shy and didn't really want to come visit me but after a while she did and gave her doggy a big kiss (mashing her forhead to the animal is her "kisses" now). After a couple hours Nicolette and her close friend Joe showed up to pick Ellie up and bring her home for the afternoon. After a quick check-up for Ellie about her persistant cough and nebulizer at her pediatrician's we stopped at a Greek place for some salads that we brought back to her apartment. I was able to meet Nicolette's new roommate Kim who is simply fantastic with Ellie. I spent the afternoon with Ellie and gave her a "busy zoo" toy for Christmas which she seemed to really like. After a very short while Ellie warmed up to me and sat in my lap as I read her stories and then played with her new toys with her and watched Baby Einstein which she seemed to love when the hand puppets would come on the screen. Her laugh is the most beautiful sound I've ever heard and thankfully I can get a smile and a chuckle out of her with very little effort. Unfortunately, I had to leave around 7:30pm to get my mom's car back to her for taking my father to dialysis the next morning. Before I left we gave Ellie a bath and she bonked her head pretty good on the side of the tub on a freak slip (tub is lined with slip proof maps... not sure how it happened) and her upper lip was cut and bleeding a bit. Nicolette took control of the situation as the wonderful mother she is and I ran upstairs to get a freeze pop to cheer her up and numb her bleeding lip. After a short while and some hand puppets she was smiling again and ready for bed. I plan on coming down again in a week to visit her with my mom and after this too-short visit I can't wait to see my beautiful daughter again.

Friday, December 7, 2007

End of Classes Celebration

Well, last night I finished the last of my Fall term classes. I literally had 4 finals in a total of 30 hours over the past two days... it was hellish. Thus, last night I decided to get a few drinks with some friends. I met up with the entire Physical Oceanography class including Kipp at Dream at about 8:45 just after I got out of my ridiculously long GIS final that took me about 2.5 hours. After a few drinks there we went over to Bombs where I got the night's last Long Island Ice Tea from Hillary because she ran out of sour mix. The drinks then turned to blue Curraco drinks and other Hillary creations which messed us all up before heading out to Laurel's party at her place near 9th street somewhere... I have no clue where we were. This time I was smart enough to leave my laptop and other stuff in COAS before I went out. I was pretty LIT from Bombs by the time I got to Laurel's so I don't recall a lot of what went on there. I think I left around 2am for home and on the way caught up with Brendan wondering the streets. Together we had a very interesting run home... Thank God classes are over with and I'm heading home tomorrow to visit Emily, my family, and my daughter for 4 weeks!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Jed's End of Quarter Corvallis Bar Crawl

Unfortunately I had to work late on Friday night on my final GIS report so I wasn't able to make it to Mike's for a great bloody mary but I was able to catch up with the crew at the Peacock. Too bad the upstairs was closed for renovations because whenever I go there I'm always ready for some Karaoke. Instead we all chilled downstairs with $1 PBR pints and played shuffleboard while listening to a great live band play. Brycen told me about a video online called "two girls one cup" and told me to google it... well.. I did today and what I found was the most disturbing thing my 28 year old eyes have ever seen... I'm not going to say another word about it but you can see the reaction to the video on YouTube.
After drinking there for a bit we wandered over to Squirrels for some drinks before heading to the skeeviest bar in town... China Delight or as we call it, "China-D". The bartender there was out of her mind. We ordered Long Island Ice teas and she poured them so full of booze I could barely drink mine... and it got me pretty messed up. By that time it was about 2am and everyone was splitting. A really drunk guy came up to me and acted like he wanted to fight someone. I mean.. this guy could barely stand up. I love it when they get like this because all you need to to is make them feel like the king of the world and they are puppets in your hands.. within 5 minutes I had the guy dancing! Cheney got a big kick out of watching all this. The few of us remaining then made the trip to LaConga for some really late night Mexican food. I didn't get any myself but took a few bites from those around me. From what I remember it was Somes, Splinter, Cheney and Vinnie and Mac & Jill. Sarah had gone home earlier. She's great and Mac is way lucky!
After LaConga I challenged Somes to a run back to campus where I got my truck and drove us both home. I love running at night in the dark. It always makes you feel like you are flying! ha. Anyway, props to Jed for a great idea and a great night on the town. I brought 15 bucks which was apparently all I needed because the dumb bartender at peacock gave me change back for a 20 twice when I handed her a 5$ and then a $10... haha. I guess I catch a break sometimes. My fortune cookie on Friday did say that I would come into unexpected fortune... just wish it was more than that!

Ellie's School Photo

Just a very cute photo of my daughter for all to see.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Sunriver Thanksgiving 2007

For Thanksgiving this year I rented a vacation house in Sunriver for Emily, and I and my OSU buddies. Emily had a rough time traveling and the airlines lost her bags but after a night in Portland we were able to make it to 2 Gosling in Sunriver by Thursday afternoon. Shortly after we got there everyone else arrived and we began to cook our Thanksgiving Feast. We had mashed potatoes, potatoes au gratin, green bean casserole, pot stickers, and Thanksgiving egg rolls.. We made the egg rolls in an assembly line and put in sweet potatoes, veggies, stuffing, and cranberry sauce - it was like a thanksgiving explosion in your mouth after wee deep fried them. Speaking of Deep Frying Tristan is the king and that turkey was the best I've ever eaten. it was even injected with Tristan's special turkey sauce. It was very cool to see how he and Brie dropped it into the hot oil with a broom handle. When the turkey went in the oil erupted all over the ground. That night we had a great display of Mac's very disturbed mind playing Taboo. He quit playing when he got the to the word "Corn Beef Hash"... hahah. Mac passed out around midnight but woke up at 4am to see a very drunk Brendan and Tristan in a sparring match which sounded to me downstairs like the house was coming down. The next morning they both woke up with black eyes but don't remember anything.
Friday we went skiing at Mt. Bachelor. It was Toshi, Mac, Emily and I. Emily lost her Burton mittens but they were found a few days later and we got them back. Emily even found a $600 Blackberry phone on the slopes that we returned to lost and found. Funny thing about that is when the women there called the number the man had left for a contact the phone in her hand started ringing. If you don't get that.. take a second and think about it. As the day wore on the snow cover got thinner and thinner until we were pretty much skiing on grass at the end of the day. We even ran into Quinn and Ashley Hatfield on the mountain but they headed up to Mt. Hood the following day so didn't hang out with us at the house.
When we got back to the house Kristen had cooked soup and the other 20lb turkey I had bought in the oven. We again had a great feast and this night got even more tore up. Mac decided that we should all go on a drunken bike ride around the neighborhood. Chris Holm and Tiffany had shown up so Chris went with us as well while Tiff stayed inside and played video games. Toshi even got a ride on the back pegs of Emily's bike from the garage. Our house had about 10 bikes in the garage and all the bunk beds had stuffed animals in them which made for an interesting weekend. That night we also cooked a duck and had a dance party. Everyone enjoyed the hot tub again which made us even more drunk. Mac passed out and the evening was even foggy for Emily and I.
Saturday we all took it pretty easy. Bart, Splinter and Emily and I took a walk up the closed snow covered road to Paulina Lake in the the Newberry Volcanic National Monument nearby. On the way we saw beautiful Paulina Falls and got some photos in front of it. Saturday night we pretty much relaxed and watched movies, and I finished up the last of the booze.
Sunday we drove to Smith Rock to watch Toshi and Levi climb and take a hike around the park. Chris and Emily and I went over the class 4 scramble of Asterix pass to get to the other side of the park. We then followed Crooked River back for half a mile to where Toshi was. Smith Rock is truly an amazing place. It's like a giant crown of rock rising out of the high desert. There are literally thousands of climbing routes there. Emily and I then drove to Portland to get some dinner and show her the city. We stayed overnight in a hotel there and then I got her to her plane at 7:30 in the morning just in time for me to get back and make it to my Statistics class for the quiz questions.
It was a great Thanksgiving and thankfully nothing got damaged in the house. Tristan, Brie, Brendan, Toshi, Levi & friend, Emily, I, Somes, Holm, Tiffany, Bart, Karen, and Mac all came along. Emily had a great time and hopefully it's just more incentive for her to move out here pronto!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Toga, Toga, Toga!!!

Last night the party house (Jeff, Anna, Hodak, Chris, Cheney, Casey) threw a raging Toga Party. Brendan and I showed up around 10:30 and it was already slammin'. They had a Keg of PBR in the back and were collecting money for Hodak's bike replacement fund. When we showed up it seemed like there were a lot of undergrads there and people we didn't know but apparently they were all Chris Somes' buddies like Eben and Caleb. Anna helped me get my Toga on as well as Brendan. Gabrielli had a sick mix of songs going so I didn't break out my laptop until nearly midnight when I had several requests (I'm not going to ever talk about what happened to me Wednesday night at Chris Holm's birthday bar hop). In any case, it was a typical drunken party until a few of the guys in the room lost their togas and became shirtless, then it became a man eating affair for the single chicks in the room. Honestly, I've never seen girls attack guys like I did last night. A few of my buddies like Somes, Jed, and Logan literally were being attacked on the dance floor it seemed. Pretty damn impressive. Moe and Diego even showed up with a whole quarter keg of Oregon Trail for the party as well! Thankfully, I was taking the night off of drinking so I did not partake in any of the shinanigans I saw happening. At the same time a round of "face first" was started on the stairwell and I got to watch everyone eat rug when they got to the bottom step. Then Laurel decided to ride a bike down the stairs as well.... Crazyness. I ended up yanking my laptop at 2:45 and driving Brendan, Ruth, Kristen, and their friend home. Brendan's keys and jacket ended up going home with Kristen's friend but he luckily spent the night at my house and found them today while I was at a CMRU mainline failure training in Avery Park. Great night and great party. I highly suggest if you are reading this that you click on the title link to see a slideshow, but you have to be my Flickr friend of course to be able to see it.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

OSU Vs. U of W.

Friday night was a rough one for me. First I had to endure the movie Darjeeing Unlimited with Brendan and Hodak. The same producers as "The Life Aquatic" and "The Royal Tennanbaums" made the same crappy film this time about 3 brothers riding around aimlessly on a train in India. I swear my life on a daily basis is more exciting then that two hour film. We could call it "The Ellinger Unlimited"! After the movie Brendan came over for some drinks and then we headed to the soccer game. There were a lot of people there including Toshi in Levi's Towelie costume from Halloween and of course Brian was the king of the night... completely trashed and cheering so much he nearly lost his voice. Pretty funny! The party then turned to Levi's where we watched a bit of fight club before returning home at 3am.
On saturday after studying all afternoon I headed over to Hodak's to pregame before the OSU football game. There I found that Hodak had sealed a PBR can into a window with plastic by accident to keep the house warm.. haha. I also learned from Dave that you can pay a tip a pizza delivery with 3 Michelob Lights... ha. We drank a bunch of beers and then headed to the incredibly packed game. By halftime we had taken out their quarterback and were winning by a good margin so we left for halftime to drink some more and make some brownies :). We went back to the game near the end to see OSU take the win and then back to Hodak's again for a party for Chris Somes' birthday. Near the end OSU definitely scored (the beaver launched in the air and laid the ball down on the end zone line) but they called it no touchdown. Was followed was the longest boo (like 10 full minute) I've ever heard. Sarah and Heather joined us and we had quite the dance party as usual. Brendan and I went home at about 3am with Brendan on my longboard... after several falls we made it back to my place and he realized he lost his camera somewhere. So, I gave him my headlamp and he actually went out and found it! Pretty impressive! Great night but I was so drunk that I didn't wake up in time in the morning to go biking with the boys like I wanted to! Oh well... Happy birthday Somes!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Make em' Laugh

So for those who read this and know me well you know that my life is in constant turmoil. I'm stuck between departments in Graduate School without funding, I've got to find a job soon to pay my bills, and I have a daughter, girlfriend, and family that I'm a continent away from. Life for me is generally a struggle but I get by day by day through making others around me laugh. If I was Popeye you could call laughter my spinach. My sense of humor is what gets me through in life. And every time I make someone laugh around me I feel better about things in general. Whether it is dressing up like an idiot to get a chuckle from my friends, or cracking a silly joke to the poor girls who work all day at the fast food joints in Moulton Union. Cheering people up around me during my everyday travels and activities is what keeps me going and I'm always willing to put in the extra effort to do so. If I stumbled upon a magic genie and had only one wish it would be that all the weapons in the world would turn into kielbasas. Because honestly, who could stay angry at someone when they are pointing a ridiculous kielbasa at you? Not only would everyone fighting burst into laughter, but it would provide a tasty treat for those hungry starving freedom fighters out there. And if it actually did come down to physical contact I don't really think I'd actually mind being beat with a delicious stick of beef! How awesome would it be if the weapon arsenals around the world looked like this picture? My only worry would be the kind of torture techniques they'd come up with using this weapon..... If you're not chuckling by now get your pulse checked.