Thanksgiving in Sea-Tac

I spent the Thanksgiving holiday weekend in the Sea-Tac area with some relatives.

Wall of gum. Kind of gross.
The original Starbucks…and a ridiculously long line for over-roasted coffee.

That’s what’s up.

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Happy Thanksgiving Weekend!

Hello sweets. I hope you have a marvelous, long, Thanksgiving weekend!
I had plans to go back to Texas, but I’m thankful that I won’t be flying down south. (Thanksgiving weather isn’t so kind this year).

Instead, I’m driving up to visit my uncle and his family who live in Tacoma (a suburb of Seattle). I’m excited to explore and catch up with family I haven’t seen in years!

Given that this is a holiday centered around food (and cooking), I asked my friend Rachal how to make situations in the kitchen around new people less awkward.
Her answer: stir something!


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Another hike in the Gorge

As soon as I learned that the weekend would be full of clear skies and no rain, I called up my friend Steph to see if she could duck out of lab and join me on a hike up Multnomah falls (the tallest waterfall in the state of Oregon!)

Gearing up to go up!
Me and Steph made it to the top!
Looking down from the top
View of the gorge

Then, after hiking, I headed out with Steph, and Santia to check out this ‘Indian’ restaurant called Bollywood theater. It was a really interesting fusion of flavors (beets… in Indian food, and saag paneer…made with kale?!?!), soo delish! I’ll definitely be going again!

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Why I’m tired of markets

I just don’t trust any of it. Every time I read something about how there’s been another ridiculous climb of the Dow Jones, there’s a part of me that goes, “This can’t be good.” None of this is real money. You know what I mean? It’s not like there’s actually more of anything. It’s just ideas. When people are getting richer and richer but they’re not actually producing anything, it can’t end well.

~Louis C.K.

Crass as he may be, Louis C.K has his moments. Especially, in this excerpt from Late Night about cell phones, and that empty, alone feeling all of us have, but few admit to.

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Mon Poupette

Since moving to Portland, I’ve met several people who espouse Waldorf-style education.

Waldorf pedagogy distinguishes three broad stages in child development, each lasting approximately seven years. The early years education focuses on providing practical, hands-on activities and environments that encourage creative play. In the elementary school, the emphasis is on developing pupils’ artistic expression and social capacities, fostering both creative and analytical modes of understanding. Secondary education focuses on developing critical understanding and fostering idealism. Throughout, the approach stresses the role of the imagination in learning and places a strong value on integrating academic, practical and artistic pursuits. After doing a bit of research, I think the method is too loosey goosey, however, I think Waldorf is onto something when it comes to the types of toys children should play with.

I happened to stop by my LYS here in Portland and saw a bunch of Waldorf dolls – a form of doll used in Waldorf education. Made of wool and cotton, using techniques drawing on traditional European dollmaking, its appearance is intentionally simple in order to allow the child playing with it to improve or strengthen imagination and creativity. For instance, it has no facial expression. Its legs and arms are flexible, allowing natural postures.

Traditional Waldorf dolls are made from cotton interlock knit fabric and wool stuffing. They are often entirely natural. Typically the trademark long hair of a Waldorf doll is made of mohair or boucle. Some doll makers use alternative hair material such as wool, rayon, and cotton. The facial features of a Waldorf doll vary with the maker. Most Waldorf dolls have small suggestions of noses, their eye and mouth colors are generally varied with each doll. After seeing the dolls, I thought it would be cool to learn how to make a jointed one. So I did!











Now, to sew some clothes!

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Making new friends in Camas

Lisa (my newly married friend back in Bloomington) got to thinking, and realized that I had a lot in common with a couple of her friends from art school who presently live in the Portland area. She put us in contact with one another, and we ended up getting together for a craft/project/chili night.

Miranda and Joel are the cutest couple. They have excellent taste in music, are remodeling an old home built in 1927, and like things that are real. Joel is a woodworker who makes furniture, and Miranda is an art teacher. They have the cutest home, and a cool warming oven!


We ended up working on projects, chatting about life in the PNW, and I even convinced Joel to give me a lesson in how to carve dovetails!

wake02 Now, if only they lived closer than 25 minutes away!

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Lisa gets married!

My friend Lisa (who accompanied me to a monastery back in March) ended up getting married over the weekend to who I imagine to be the perfect match for her!

I ended up flying into Nashville, and got to spend a bit of time hanging out with my old friend Carlos (who I knew back when I was at Texas). He’s now a professor at Vanderbilt and has a super sweet wife and dog.

I spent the remainder of the weekend hiking in and around Mammoth Cave National Park, visiting with friends, and making the drive to Bloomington to see the wedding.

Entrance to Mammoth Cave

Lisa was stunning. It was so nice to reconnect with everyone, and the reception took place in a gorgeous home on the outskirt of town.


God grant you many years Lisa&Phil!

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Black Prairie and the Portland symphony at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall

I’ve long been a fan of the Decemberists since I heard them in 2006 at ACL back in my undergrad days. It turns out that two members of the Decemberists decided to venture out and form a quintet called Black Prairie comprised of a primarily instrumental string band as a way to present music that didn’t really work with The Decemberists sound.

So when my coworker, Mike filled me in on the Black Prairie concert, I knew I had to go!



The concert was absolutely amazing, and I even got to hear my first listen of a Stroh violin. In addition to Black Prairie, I got to hear the soothing voice of Mirah, and was introduced to Holcombe Waller.

In particular, I find Holcome Waller’s song from ‘Into the Dark Unknown’ to be particularly fitting to my current sentiments:

Portland’s eclectic nature yields a similar musical vibe. I love it.

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First hike in the Gorge

The Columbia River Gorge is river canyon about 85 miles long and up to 4,000 feet deep. Carved by volcanic eruptions and Ice Age floods over millions of years, the Gorge is the only sea-level route through the Cascade Mountains. The cataclysmic floods also transformed flowing river tributaries into hanging waterfalls creating the largest concentration of waterfalls in North America.

Yesterday, I decided to go on a 5 mile hike through the Gorge (Triple Falls) to soak in the last few days of autumn and capture the foliage views.













I’m a sucker for waterfalls, especially ones you can walk behind! I still feel like I live in a fairy tale.

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Living in a cloud

I’ve been living in Portland now for a little over a month and have not found much time to post, much less to pause and reflect on life. Things are finally settling in and I am hoping to get back to regular posting.

The road trip to Portland was amazing. Yellowstone is absolutely stunning, and the Grand Tetons will forever be ingrained in my mind. I was able to move into my apartment smoothly, and I love my job. Not just in a ‘I like my work’, but the environment and people are also phenomenal. Some days I have to pinch myself to make sure I’m not in a dream.

I wake up and I’m in a cloud, I’m in a fairy tale.

Morning view from my apartment window.

I’m still trying to get my bearings in line. Hopefully this dream starts to feel more like reality soon.



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