From spending hours on end on planes to hours behind the wheel… it’s a new mode of transport for a new week. This isn’t much of a road trip, though, I’ve just been back and forth from Portland and Eugene for various reasons.

Lots of time on the road means I’m finally starting to get caught up on my backlog of podcasts that accumulated while in South Africa.

I think by the end of the month I’ll have spent more time in Portland than Eugene. On its own I don’t really mind that stat. I like Portland. Very much.

“I disagreed with most of what he said, but I loved the way he said it.”

—Ruth Bader Ginsburg on her friendship with Antonin Scalia

I would love to be a lot better at disagreeing with people, to be transparent about convictions that aren’t shared without threatening the relationship at all or sounding antagonistic or even trying to persuade the other person. It’s not a skill that comes easy for a lot of people.

I know it comes way more natural for me to just stay silent when I know I disagree with someone. Of course I would rather not be overly outspoken and it’s always important to choose battles wisely, but I’d wager that this is one area where I could grow in a lot.

Went on a two mile run in the morning and a two mile meander in the afternoon.

This is the longest suspended pedestrian skybridge in North America at 200 meters.

More importantly, it’s the best place in North America to walk slowly, breathing heavily, and humming John Williams scored while pretending to be Darth Vader.

Finally able to be back home now after one stay away from home after another. Maybe I just needed to be reminded of how good it can be to be at home.

Here’s a few things I’m appreciating as well—

OHSU– especially for their really pretty campus on a mountain that offers so many great views of Portland. Nobody wants to go to the hospital, but if you must, might as well have it be a pretty one.

Big Hero 6– Got to rematch this movie the other night and it held up really well. Just a reminder that I loved it start to finish.

Kitchen Stories– found a new favorite app for publishing my recipes.

Deanna and I checked another item off our list. We started up a book club through our church. It’s our first time ever going book clubbin’. So, when we decided to revisit A Million Miles in a Thousand Years for our book club, I wondered a few things… how would the book hold up? What would I see differently about living a good story? What lessons would be reinforced? Most of all, would I still be able to say that I’m living a good story or was it just a passing idea?
Here’s my take on A Million Miles in a Thousand Years five years down the line.
It’s still a great book, and one of my all time favorites. It still does a really good and unique job at putting words to things we know deep down are important.

I still believe in the importance of living a good story and I think that whenever you see somebody who’s really doing it, it’s a really beautiful thing that reminds you what it’s all about.

The best storylines aren’t necessarily about the places you go or, but about what challenges you the most.

Life Before Puppy

Took a trip to the animal shelter today to browse their selection of puppies.

They don’t respond to Sarah McLaughlin tunes the way they’d lead you to believe.

I had a good moment with Sawyer the Siberian, though.

“I don’t fit in. And I used to think that
that was a curse, but…now I’m slowly
starting to see… maybe it’s a blessing.
See, when you don’t fit in, you’re forced to see the world from many different angles and points of view. You gain knowledge, life lessons from disparate people and places. And those lessons, for better or worse, have shaped me.”

Watched the movie Dope the other night… Somehow this move went from a very quiet release in theatres to a very quiet release on Netflix, but I enjoyed it very much.

In totally different news, I spent my Sunday morning hanging out with a new Siberean friend.

So, Sunday night was pretty fun.

A huge congrats to Jesse and Raquel for getting engaged over the weekend.

Super excited for the two of you and glad I was able to make it to celebrate with y’all.

I feel like it’s hard to find somebody in my age cohort that doesn’t at least have a little bit of coffee snob in them. Maybe it’s because finding post-grad employment is so much tougher that a good portion of us have been a barista out of necessity at some point or another. Or maybe it’s because we grew up in the nineties, at a time when Starbucks and Seattle’s Best were dominating the market. Then when we reached adulthood, it was during a small-batch renaissance. Intelligentsia and Stumptown became household names synonymous with cool, and hipster coffee shops popped up everywhere.

True to the spirit of our generation, Deanna and I gave roasting coffee at home a shot. We tried a couple of different methods. We used a popcorn maker for a batch. We also tried a cast iron skillet.

What’s the difference in taste depending on where the beans are coming from? Does home roasting coffee actually save you money? How do you do it and what it’s like?

These are things I used to pretend to know about coffee. Now I know: It’s complicated, it depends, and it’s fun!

Deanna and I spent our weekend nesting and getting our house ready for the dog we’d like to adopt very, very soon.

Also, I learned what Bret Michaels has been up to since Rock of Love. Glad that he’s been keeping himself busy.

In the meantime, we’ve been debating names and want your input. We won’t necessarily go with the majority vote, but perhaps some of you will give us good feedback. If the shelter dog we’ve been eyeballing doesn’t get reclaimed by the end of the week, one of these names will go to a golden colored medium sized lab mix.

No offense to all the owners of Spots and Codys and Milos out there, but I’m not one for overused dog names. Here’s a chance to inject a family member’s title with some personal meaning in a way that you can’t quite get away with when its for a kid.

Here we go, our name finalists are:

• Beignet – to celebrate our New Orleans honeymoon and the wonderful Café du Monde
• Timber – In honor of the MLS champion Portland Timbers, #rctid baby, but also because #istandwithkesha y’know
• Jozi – Because South Africa has my heart and Cape Town isn’t a very good doggy name.
Here’s something worth celebrating… This week I finish up the results chapter of my thesis! It’s not a total finish line, I still need to enter in some pictures and format everything, but I just finished typing 90 something pages worth of stuff, so I’ll cheers to that.

But just a cheers with an espresso, because I haven’t shown any of this to my advisor as of yet so we can’t celebrate too much too soon.

I’ve been turning all of Eugene’s coffee shops into my workspaces lately. If the Beanery had somewhere you could park for more than two hours it would be much higher on my list. I love the look and light on the inside of this converted train station.

Despite passing by it all the time I never really spend a whole lot of time in Salem. Granted, there isn’t much there, but it’s still the state Capitol, and it’s weird I haven’t visited considering I’ve been to at least half of the state capitol buildings without trying.

Well, like it or not, I ended up having to spend some of yesterday in Salem to do traffic school for a speeding ticket from September.

Central Salem was quaint and the park by the Capitol was pretty. And I got some good writing done while I was there but that is about all I have to report.

This is a big week in the Lazaro house and hopefully I have good news to report at the end of it regarding puppy adoption. In the meantime it’s hard to contain excitement.

Run River North

My favorite thing about getting into running has been being able to dig into some podcasts and good music a lot more.

Every few months or so I put up a blog post featuring some of my recent recommendations. No surprise that the most recent one happens to be dominated by what’s been coming in through my earbuds.

On the music side of things: Run River North, Gallant, and Jack Garratt have been getting a lot of plays from me lately.

Some fun podcasts: The Splendid Table, Gastropod, NPR’s Embedded, Sounds Good, and NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour.

Deanna recently discovered a mix CD buried in my glove compartment from 2009. We put it in and discovered that a) My car’s CD player still works and b) I can look back proudly on my 2009 self’s taste in music. A Bryan Eno & David Byrne collab of Strange Overtones… some Of Montreal, Blitzen Trapper, and older M83.

Lately I’ve been kind of curious as to why new music I discover doesn’t quite strike me the way these old songs did. I don’t think it’s a case of me getting older and they don’t make ‘em like they used to… but my discoveries are more few and far between. My theory? Life, and more particularly, my outlook on it doesn’t swing around as wildly as it used to, so there are fewer stand-out emotions that certain songs can really strike.

Of course there are some exceptions, some glorious exceptions from bands I would consider in their prime. Run River North for instance. I absolutely love their song Growing Up. Every time I listen to it, I can always feel the lyrics; the way the vocals rise in harmony during the world “child” resonates in the veins of my forearms. So glad I got to see them last week with Deanna.

Oh man… Thanks to Run River North last night for putting on one of the best shows I’ve seen in ages. Despite all the random one-degree-separations I have from the band, somehow seeing them perform live has eluded me until now. I love their music and it translates really well to the stage.

Yesterday was a good day for so many reasons.

Run River North — again, an amazing show! Getting to watch from over the drummer’s shoulders made it even better.

The doggy — we won the stakeout. I’m picking her up today.

Poaching eggs — I treated myself to homemade open face sandwiches for lunch… I’m getting better at this tricky skill.

Adopting Beignet

It’s early… Like crazy early. 3:30 AM and I’ve been up for an hour, early. I’m currently out of bed, layered up, and sitting in my car waiting away the hours.

As soon as another car pulls into this parking lot I’ll have to get out in the rain, put on my rain gear, and set up my chair and my umbrella.

Why? Deanna and I have had our eyes on a dog for almost two weeks but it’s taken the shelter until now to do her evaluation and clear her for adoption. And now that she’s an official free agent, this system is first come first serve.

I don’t usually Black Friday, but when I do, it’s on a Wednesday in early March to get a puppy.

It’s a wrap! After a week and a half of waiting, and a rainy night of camping out in front of the animal shelter, she is ours.

Also, we’re very progressive parents so she’s already signed up for school tomorrow.

We’re gonna try out all the names we brainstormed and see how responsive she is… So far she seems to realize Beignet means something. The shelter had been calling her Zucchini. That’s a little too healthy for us though.

The newest addition to our household.


You know it’s truly been a lazy Sunday when even this one is pretty knocked out.

Training this girl can be a handful at times, but she makes me bust out laughing at least a couple times each day so it’s a fair deal.

The puppy life is strong with this one.


This girl is a crazy one! 60 pounds of puppy energy… And she’s a strong one too.

She’s really sweet, but she’s got a lot to learn… Like not being afraid of stairs when those are the only way in and out of the apartment.

We’re helping our girl learn how to be more social and less sociopathic.

This weekend we took her out on her first play date, and it went really, really well.

Beignet finally met her match in terms of energy level in our friend Alyssa’s six month old husky pup, Koda.

Seriously, adopting and training this dog has been one of the most fun, demanding, and rewarding things I’ve taken on this year. She’s a blast of energy, hilarious, and feels all the more like a member of the family we can poke fun of.

I get to see the process of her learning… gradually becoming a better dog to go on walks with, learning when it’s time for bed, and picking up on my cues of when it’s time for play or time to chill out because I need to work on something. She’s the kind of who is so lively, you can see her thought process play out right on her face.

It’s taken me almost 26 years but I’ve finally given in to the Madness of March for the first time ever. I guess that’s a pretty short wait relative to CSU Bakersfield, but for both of us, the drought is over.

Deanna’s job is doing an office pool, so she handed me her bracket and I took the liberty to include a Steel Bridge Porter.

Who’ve ya got? I have Kansas topping Michigan State in the championship with Oklahoma and Kentucky rounding out the Final Four. I felt like a big homer picking Oregon to get all the way to the Sweet 16, but they have like, seven guys who could start and I legit think they have the best shot out of the Pac12.

Go Ducks.

“The wake of death is a mountain. Our ankles roll in crags that are love and loss and confusion and anger and time and memory. Cancer should have not stripped the strength away from our friends. The cold should not have come to take away our fathers. Razors should not have bled the life from our lovers. Age should not have claimed the youth in our grandparents’ eyes.

Death was not always a part of life. It did not always come to reap a harvest.

Nor will it forever reign.”

—Levi McAllister

Google this name and read his latest blog post for a full on heartfelt Easter reflection that doesn’t hold back. Hope you’re having a Happy Easter Sunday.

We took our girl to a puppy Easter Egg Hunt. She loved it. Especially once she actually figured out there were doggy treats in the eggs.

It’s impossible to stay mad at this face.

It’s easy to get mad at Beignet when she gives in to her naughty streak, but it’s impossible to stay mad. This is mostly because she waits for you to start chastising her before she lets out one of her legendary burps.

How I ended up with such a gassy dog, I’m unsure, but her burps hold a ton of entertainment value. She seems to have a knack for comedic timing and they sound like the burps of a three hundred pound man.

Not sure if it even mattered what we named our dog, since she responds to pretty much anything we call her.

Also, we’ve given her a dozen nicknames in the six weeks since we’ve adopted her.

Beg Net
Mrs. Nosey
Schwine Hund
Doctor Baby
Poppy Dawg
Den Animal