Monday, December 31, 2012

New Years at Tim & Lindsay's in Oceanside

This New Years instead of going to Government Camp to ski all night as we usually do we headed to the coast to join Tim and Lindsay and the Corvallis crew for a party at their house.  Emily had to work on New Years Eve so we didn’t get out of town until about 6:30 in the evening which got us to their place around 8pm which happened to be just in time for food and we were starving!  Leo came with us and chilled in the car while we were inside.  Several rounds of people went out to meet him throughout the night so he wasn’t too lonely.  I set about trying to drain a bottle of bourbon and enjoy myself for the evening.  Next thing I know I’m having long conversations with Mischa and a dance party had broken out in the living room!  Thankfully, I made it to midnight to kiss Emily before Irish exiting out to the car to crash in my sleeping bag next to Leo.  Emily soon joined us but the slope the car was parked on led to a pretty restless night for the three of us.  Great party and glad to see everyone from Corvallis again!

UltraCAM Visit

I certainly work with a very cool camera at a very amazing office for a very amazing Remote Sensing company in the best city of the country.  Today I went to visit our UltraCAM Eagle Ultra Large Format camera.  When I say Ultra Large I mean that it has a massive footprint on the ground and shoots at 260 megapixels.  It weighs over 100 lbs I believe and it is the size of R2D2.  I drove out to Hillsboro Airport hoping to go up in our Caravan plane for a flight but weather rolled in and the plane remained grounded.  Cameron did give me a cool tour of the plane and the Camera setup inside of it before I left though.  Pretty sweet stuff I work with!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Skibowl Backcountry Fun with Holm

This weekend Emily and I had a fantastic two days with Holm at Skibowl.  He has been driving around between friends and families over the holidays so stayed with us Fri and Saturday night to continue his week of skiing at Mt. Hood.  Even though it hadn’t snowed in several days the weather had remained cool and we found amazing conditions in the out of bounds area of Tom Dick Peak next to Mt. Hood Skibowl which we all have season passes to.  

I also got to try out my new Technica Cochise boots that are built as alpine racing boots but also have Dynafit compatible soles for touring.  I can honestly say they are the best piece of ski equipment I’ve bought in a decade!  Probably because that category of boot didn’t even exist until last year!  

We ended up skiing out to the trailhead for Mirror Lake just at dark on saturday after having an amazing day of skiing and enjoying german sausages and beer at the warming hut at Skibowl as well.  On Saturday night we ate pizza and watched the movie Ted only to get up early and ski again on Sunday in sweet conditions again with even better weather and blue skies.  

We only took one run on Sunday at Skibowl, spending the entire afternoon skinning around the backcountry of Tom Dick Peak and taking some pretty sweet drops into soft powder below.  Emily was the camera woman for the afternoon and she got some great shots.  Later in the afternoon both Emily and I found that our skins had become frozen and were no longer sticking to our skis.  

Chris seemed to be just fine so he continued to skin up and out of the backcountry and back to the resort while Emily and I descended past Mirror lake down to the highway and then skinned back up the shoulder to Skibowl, meeting Chris at the warming hut for beers again.  I was able to get some good shots of the sunset on Hood as well as upper bowl all lit up by the lights.  It was a great first weekend of skiing after a lot of snowfall in the area while Emily and I were on the East Coast for the holiday!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Introducing Leo The Dog!

Well, after years of saying that we were looking for a Dog, Emily and I ended up with what appears to be the perfect dog without even looking at all!  Leo (Emily named him) was found running down the side of the road near Longview, Washington by a co-worker of Emily.  He had no tags, no chip but when presented with an open car door jumped in and was very friendly.  Emily came home from work one day and showed me a video of Leo and asked if we wanted to watch him for a weekend to try him out.  I thought he looked cute enough so agreed and she came home with him on Thursday, November 29th after we had our Thanksgiving in Sunriver.  

I hadn’t mentioned him until now in my blog or on Facebook because we were not sure we were going to keep him or not.  At first glance he appears pretty old and the first night we had him he wanted to hump my leg with more urgency than I’ve ever seen in a dog.... eventually he just ended up humping himself if you know what I mean... yeah gross... He also pee’d on our curtain which I had to wash so he was not off to a good start.  We had a crate for him but on Friday when we went to work I left him out and put away all chewable objects and cords and gave him a stern warning to behave.  To our amazement when we got home on Friday he had been perfect and didn’t want to hump anything.  Over that first weekend we discovered he had fleas and took him to PetCo to get $$$ medicine and toys as well as a walk in a nearby park.  After the walk he seemed to have a limp which further made me worry about his age.  

Over the next two weeks the fleas went away and he seemed to be itching a lot less.  We were still sure that someone would call to claim him as Emily’s co-worker had called all the vets, shelters, put up telephone photos for miles and both of us had posted to Craigslist about the missing dog.  We hadn’t even chosen a name for him by the time we left for Christmas for the East Coast and left him with Holm to take care of while we were gone.  To our dismay Holm quickly discovered that he had worms in his stool which made us worry about him over the holiday.  The poor dog probably didn’t know who was his owner at this point in life.   Over the holiday I made an appointment at Mountain View Veterinary right next to the Park and Ride I use to get to work for the morning after we got back from Connecticut.  

Over the holiday Emily had convinced me to keep Leo as his name so on the 27th of December became his official birthday according to the Vet.  Dr. Corbett was amazed at how well behaved Leo was even when taking his temperature rectally.  He sat patiently while he was examined and Chris had provided a stool sample for analysis about the worms.  She gave him medication for the worms and we found out the next day he also had a parasite that would be taken care of with the medicine.  Poor dog was worse off than we thought when we found him.  He was well behaved with other dogs that passed by at the Vet and he kept close to me the whole time.  The best news we got from the visit was that the vet thought from examining his teeth that he couldn’t be older than 2 years old!  She noticed, as Emily and I did, that he might have a slight limp in his back leg which she will look at when he is neutered (yup, he has his manhood still) and has a chip implant on the 18th of January.  Both checks that we got for Christmas from my mom went directly to the vet bill so essentially we can thank her for giving us a dog for Christmas as well!

So, it’s been a few weeks since Christmas and we’ve settled back in at home with Leo with us.  He hasn’t made a single mistake in the house and he’s proven himself a capable dog outdoors and with other animals.  He knows to sit, come on command the first time and even shake paws.  He doesn’t bother us when we eat and he isn’t overly needy of attention.  He doesn’t wine, or bark and doesn’t even wake us up in the morning.  He stays close by us at all times lying next to the bed or under our feet on the couch and he is great on leash.  The only thing that worries us even a little is that he doesn’t understand the danger of the road.... but we are working on that.  Oh, and he sheds quite a bit right now.  Otherwise, Leo has seriously proven to be the dog we have dreamed of! 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Riggott Family Christmas

Emily and I headed to the East Coast for 8 days to spend time with her family and my mom who came down for the holiday as well.  I say “East Coast” instead of “home” because it plays a big part of what ensued over the holidays.... Neither of us were expecting to get home and get grief from our parents about our choice of having our wedding on the West Coast.  This surprise upset us both over the holiday but thankfully we were able to resolve it with a long discussion with both our parents the day after Christmas, explaining to them that the Northwest is now where we call “home”.  

It was an awkward trip for me in several ways that I won’t go into within this blog, accept to say that I was thoroughly surprised by what transpired.  In the middle of the holiday I went about 40 hours without sleep because I was so upset about what had occurred.  Thankfully, like our wedding location debate, things were resolved at the end and I felt a bit better, but also won’t easily forget what happened.  

During the trip we got to see the Hobbit again with Emily’s Family and got to see all her relatives which was really great.  On Christmas Eve we had a wonderful dinner at Jen and Nick’s amazing new house and we ate really well over the holiday in general with an amazing dinner by Emily’s mom on Christmas.  As for gifts, the family kept it low key this year because of tight expenses for everyone.  We did an elephant gift exchange and we ended up with a basket of goodies that I left in the house to share and Emily got a shaker for drinks.  

Everyone wanted to hear about our wedding plans and many seemed genuinely excited for the trip including Chris and Julia who plan on flying into Seattle and making a vacation out of it.  People were also excited to hear about our new dog (see next post) who we had left with Chris to take care of while we were away.  We were able to fly out of Windsor Locks on Wednesday night just hours before a big snowstorm hit the East Coast and it was a pleasant flight back through Minnesota (whose airport is amazing and filled with free iPads) back to Portland.

Friday, December 14, 2012

WSI Holiday Party

Tonight was the WSI Holiday Party at Holocene in Portland.  The Corvallis Crew got a bus up the city for the evening but many people simply stayed with Portland friends.  Kevin and Alexa crashed at our place.  The Portland Office had an “ugly sweater day” at work and there was plenty of good drinks in the office in the afternoon before the party.  I helped myself to some great baileys in my coffee and then in a my coffee mug with ice before I walked over the bridge to the venu.  I got a bit lost on the way there but David found me and showed me the entrance.  

At first the party was very quiet but then everyone got into the swing of things with great food and a full open bar.  Matt had created a great animated movie about how the company has grown over the years that everyone seemed to enjoy.  Russ seemed to be along for the ride with that part of the night.  After many delicious drinks a certain person staying us didn’t feel so well and we ended up leaving just as the dance party began and the venu opened the doors to the public.  This was probably a really good thing as I had reached the point of no return taking shots at the bar with Eric, Tom and Anna.  It was a great time and I certainly paid for it the next day when we met up with Jason, Jenn, Scott and Danielle to watch the Hobbit in 3D for Jason’s birthday... 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

US Women's National Team vs. Ireland

On Wednesday I had a big surprise planned for Emily.  I had heard a month ago about the Women’s Gold Medal Team coming to Portland to play Ireland.  It was a friendly match I believe that didn’t count towards any Cup or League but I figured Emily would really like to see it in the small Timbers Jeld-Wen stadium.  

I had sent an email out to friends so Scott, Amanda and Colin and Holm all told me to buy some tickets for them as well.  They all thought it must be her birthday or a Christmas present but really it’s just because she’s the best part of my life.  I emailed a bunch more people but with the steep price of the tickets and the drive to Portland on a Wednesday a bunch bailed on the idea.

I was able to jump on an early Visa pre-sale and score some 3rd row tickets just to the side of midfield.  While buying the tickets Russ came by and joked about me mapping a stadium... but when he heard what I was buying asked me to jot a note down for him as well.  Little did I know that Matt would also be attending with his children.  I was super excited about it and only told Emily that she had a big surprise coming at the end of the month after Thanksgiving.

On game day she still had no idea what was planned and was even more confused that I had talked to her co-workers to make sure she wasn’t working in Corvallis that day.  She was able to get out of work a bit early and meet me downtown.  Even more surprised when we walked into a parking garage to meet our friends who had driven up from Corvallis.  

All made good timing with the traffic and we were able to make our way to the stadium and take our seats just before kickoff, passing Matt and his kids inside on the way.   Emily didn’t have any clue until we were just outside the Stadium what we were going to do for the night.  

The game was a blast.  Colin had brought noise makers, a gorilla mask, glow sticks and face paint..we only used the noise makers and mine was broken making dying animal noises much to the amusement of everyone around me.  We grabbed beers, nachos and bags of popcorn and enjoyed a tight game in the first half.  

We even managed to be sitting about 2 feet behind the falling rain at one point because we were just underneath the awning far above us.  In the 2nd half the game really took off with Alex Morgan (my new athlete crush) scoring a hat trick of three goals.  Hope Solo, despite the rough shape she was in, played the first half of the game in goal.  and Abby Waumbek was there too.  

It was great to see how close all the girls on the team were to each other with Rapinoe always being the first one to jump in the air and hug anyone who scored.  When the score reached 4-0 all the big name players came out allowing the backups and 2nd strings athletes to get some time in.  After the game the Alex Morgan addressed the crowd facing us and all the girls took a victory lap around the field.  

We all then walked downtown to Sizzle Pie for some slices and a beer before parting ways.  Although it certainly was a bit expensive where we sat, I was very happy that our friends could join us and Emily was clearly surprised and happy to have gone to the game and sat so close.  I also, as you can see got some pretty great shots with the long lens of our camera.  Only downside is not winning the half billion dollar jackpot of the lottery that I had bought tickets for. :)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

This year for Thanksgiving Emily and I once again split a vacation house rental in Sunriver with friends.  We ended up getting the same one I visited in 2007 for my first Sunriver Trip with Kristen Splinter, the Jackelope Lodge.  This place is crazy cheap at around $110 a night split between Danielle, Scott, Jason, Jenn, Emily and I (but it sleeps about 12 too..).  It has a dock in the back into the little Deschutes waterway through Sunriver and a hot tub on the back porch that was the perfect size for the 6 of us.  

After a long drive through the Dalles and then Rte 97 to avoid snow in the Prius we all met up at the lodge on Wednesday night around 10:30pm and kicked off the weekend with rounds of bourbon, beer and baileys in the hot tub.  Emily and I took a bedroom downstairs across from Scott and Danielle and Jason and Jen took a bed upstairs.  We were disappointed to find the ice machine not working, no wi-fi for sports and no tv reception but looking back it was probably a good thing to disconnect from the world for a few days.

On Thanksgiving we basically spent the whole day relaxing inside with a hot fire and casually preparing our dinner.  Jason got the peanut oil up to temp outside in the yard and it took us about an hour to deep fry the various birds.  ~40min for the 14lb turkey, 20 for the duck, 15 for the chicken and about 4 for the cornish game hen.  Deep frying Emily’s Thanksgiving egg rolls only took about 60 seconds for them all to float to the surface.  

Jason cut up the giblets into some corn bred dressing Jen had made and Danielle made some crazy good garlic mashed potatoes and baked root vegetables.  Jen also made sweet potatoes, Danielle made her green bean casserole, we had my mom’s harvard beets, cranberry sauce, duck sauce Hawaiian rolls and a great mushroom sauce by Danielle.  Yes, all this and and homemade marionberry cream pie Emily had picked up for just 6 of us!  I ended up taking a plate of legs from each bird and had to use a separate plate to hold all my sides and to the amazement of no one I of course polished it all off.  The rest of the night was spent watching movies and relaxing with very full friends.

On Friday Em and I left the house around 10am for a 2hr backcountry ski descent of Tumalo which seems to have become a Thanksgiving tradition for us.  The area had just received the first big snowstorm of the year so we thankfully found ourselves skiing relatively soft powder at the top of Tumalo which became a little heavier near the base in the warmer temperatures.  We had trouble finding a parking spot at first on the busy weekend but once we did it took us no time at all to follow a wide skin track all the way to the summit.

On top we were rewarded with great views of the Sisters and Broken top under a beautiful white blanket of snow and could see clearly all the way south over Mt. Bachelor towards the lightning rod shape of Mt. Thielsen.  We had debated going to Bachelor but knew we wouldn’t want to get up early and with only 2-3 lifts open found their $60 opening day ticket price a bit absurd.  Instead we had fresh tracks down through the trees of Tumalo for free with much needed exercise after our meal the night before.   

We stopped at a ski shop and bike shop on the way back to the house and tried to get a hold of Hartz who was hosting guests over the weekend but they were out at Smith Rock and we missed them.  Jason, Scott, Danielle and Jenn went off on a hike that they had to turn back on because of a flooded stream crossing that wasn’t safe so we beat them back to the house where I was dismayed to find the meat locked in Jason’s car.  After some frantic texts I found a way into his Jeep and had a generous portion of meat that a racoon/bear had also gnawed on the night before when it had broken into the cooler on the porch.  Not sure why but I definitely had a much bigger night on Friday than the two previous nights.  

On Saturday I was a bit slow to rise and did my best to gather myself together with some breakfast of bacon wrapped eggs by Jenn before we headed downtown to watch the annual Civil War game between the OSU Beavers and U of O Ducks.  We had planned to watch it at the McMenemins Theater but the place was packed with older people it seemed with no room so we headed off to Brother Jon’s Public House instead.  We had a great server and a couple rounds of drinks (I had hot chocolate mint toddy’s) but unfortunately the Beavers were playing like shit so we left at half time to meet up with Tim and Lindsay at their friend Brad’s house a few blocks away (Same Brad as Tam Rim overnight a year ago).  Brad’s girlfriend Stacey was working the bar at Bachelor so we didn’t get to see her but it was good to see him and Winston the dog again.  

Hartz finally got a hold of me after the game and we all headed back to McMenamins to get a drink with him, Jenni, Anna, John, Heather and Grady.  It was good to catch up with Hartz after so long having not seen him.  He and Jenni are awesome and I wish they lived closer to us.  They both seem to be struggling for work but that’s the opposite side of the coin for living in what I would call the heaven of outdoor sports cities.   By 6pm it was time for us to head back to our hot tub while they headed into the soaking pools there.  

Saturday night Tim and Lindsay joined us for the night and Emily provided everyone with a wine tasting of our selection of possible wines for our wedding.  I think we all chose a good red and wine but I can’t remember now what they were!!  We had a relaxing night again with friends before heading to bed.  On Sunday we spent the morning cleaning up the house for a few hours before taking off around 11am for the long trip home.  Em and I saw a deer while heading out of Sunriver and were able to pick up our Fusion passes at SkiBowl on the beautiful drive home via Warm Springs and Government Camp.  It was a great long weekend with friends and we of course look forward to it again next year.