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.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Beaver Home Game with Friends

Emily and I had a big night on Friday with Holm for his birthday.  We wanted to do something for him and he conveniently was headed to Portland for an amateur Kayaking Film Festival at the Melody Ballroom.  After all of us fighting traffic and a few drinks for me at Valentines we met Holm at the East Bank Saloon and bought him some birthday dinner.  The Kayaking Film Festival was pretty good despite the very hoppy beer they were serving.  The films were full of action and lots of bail outs to good music and we saw several of our friends in the films including Ben Sigler and Carl.  Later that night we continued with a few more drinks at C-Bar with Holm and a few girls he knew and despite Em and I wanting him to stay in a warm bed at our place on his birthday he ended up on a couch I think at a friends in Portland... at 3am... and was still able to wake up early to go kayaking the next day.  He’s an animal.

On Saturday Em and I fought the game day traffic of both a Duck and Beaver Home game.  It took us about 3 hours to drive from Ridgefield to Corvallis and as soon as we got to Colin’s house he had bikes ready for us to head over to the tailgate.  Doug’s father had unfortunately passed recently so we weren’t able to see him but Kevin and some of the Fisherie’s crew had a small party going and eventually Garrett, Miwa, Amy Jo and Loomis showed up to join in the fun.  Shiloh showed up about an hour before kickoff in a pretty bad state and friends had to help sneak him into the game... a miracle he got in.  

It had been raining off and on during the day and was supposed to clear up Sat night a bit... Nope.  By half time the Beavers were thankfully crushing CAL and it was announced over the speakers that the Ducks had suffered an overtime loss which put the whole crowd into a frenzy and psyched the Beavs on the field up as they started jumping around when they heard the news.  By half time I think we had doubled CAL’s score and the skies had opened up to a steady downpour of rain.  Em and I were super happy to have our full Gore-Tex outfits on as we peddled our bikes with Kevin and Colin over to Squirrels to continue the night.  Rema was working the bar and showed us a good time and even brought me up some deviled eggs!  Man, do I miss Corvallis.  By 2am we were feeling a bit tired and tipsy so we decided to leave, ignoring Kevin’s pleads with us to head to the Peacock and followed Colin on a spirit quest bike ride through back roads and trails to his house for the night. 

On Sunday we had a great breakfast with Colin and Amanda who looked very healthy and happy in her pregnant state and Danielle and Scott stopped by to watch some Sunday morning football with us.   Both Colin and I were nursing a bit of a hangover from the game and Squirrels.  After football ended we headed over to Kevin and Alexa’s so I could see their new place and tussle with Dromi who I hadn’t seen in over 4 months and who was a bit chunky due to all the treats she got from doggy obedience school she had just graduated from.  We didn’t stay long as they were planning to stay with us Tuesday night before their flight to Georgia anyway, then it was back to Ridgefield to continue our never ending wedding planning....

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Kayaking the Upper Clackamas

This weekend Chris Holm convinced me to kayak the upper Clackamas again with him and some other friends from Corvallis.  Emily was on the East Coast visiting her parents on the way back from work in Atlanta and I had nothing else to do, the weather looked good, and he could pick up a rental IK for me so I said ok to the idea.  By the end of the week the weather had turned very cold and on Friday there was frost on my truck when I got back from work.... it was going to be cold.

After a night of partying in Portland Holm gave me a call at 7:45, about an hour earlier than I expected his call.  I rushed to get my stuff together, grabbed a bowl of cereal and a coffee from Freddy’s and headed south towards Clackamas where I met him, Jack Zunka, and Kevin, Cristina’s newest boyfriend.  We then headed east up the river towards the Three Lynx area where we would put in at the same place as the last time Holm and his brother and I did it earlier this summer.  We would also take out at the same place that we learned was called “Bob’s hole” but we had to wait until June, her boyfriend Allan and her dad showed up so we could shuttle vehicles.  Waiting in the cold for a possible ride hitch hiking wet after kayaking was certainly out of the question.  

We had to wait about 45 minutes for June to show up before we quickly left a car, and made our way to the put in under partly clearing skies.  Chris had brought his 4/3 wetsuit for me and I had gloves and booties but was still worried about being cold.  Kevin had a wetsuit too but unfortunately didn’t have booties and was forced to wear cotton socks and old skate shoes.  Holm also had forgotten his gloves but he and the rest were in dry suits with warm dry clothes underneath so I didn’t feel too bad for him.  

Once on the river all was fine and I was pretty warm until I realized that I really had to pee.  I felt bad in Holm’s wetsuit so I decided to jump in the river to my waist.  Well, this turned out to be a blessing for my bladder but a curse for my core temp as I was then soaked and found myself shivering for pretty much the rest of the trip.  The water was a little bit higher than earlier this summer which made the rapids a bit more fun.  Neither Kevin nor I in the IKs flipped thankfully but we were still pretty cold.  All the hardshell boats flipped at least once and I was impressed by June’s Dad, he was clearly an experienced kayaker (he wasn’t “nervous”...).

It only took us a few hours to do the full 14 miles of river as we paddled a lot to keep warm.  I was just warming up from adrenaline after some fun class IV rapids when we reached the takeout.  I quickly dragged my IK on shore and stripped down to put on my down pants and top I had stashed in a dry bag Holm had lent me for the trip.  The others shuttled the cars and it wasn’t too long until we were all back in Kevin’s car and headed for burgers and beers.

We ended up stopping at the Carver Hanger in Clackamas where we ate in the saloon littered with peanut shells all over the floor.  I had a yummy Black Butte Porter and a really good French Dip Sandwich with tots.  It was a great day on the river with Holm and I enjoyed hanging out with Jack again who I hadn’t seen in a couple years I think.  Kevin was a riot and it was good to reintroduce myself to June and her boyfriend Allan who I hadn’t met yet.  Chris and the others were off to Jack’s girlfriends place in Portland again for another night of music and drinking but I headed home to a cozy fire and more work on wedding planning underneath a thick blanket!