Mt. Hood

Spencer’s Butte Hike

Yesterday was a good one. A solid 4.5 mile run and then the evening introduced me to one of Eugene’s more underspoken places to eat.

On the outside, it’s easily mistakable as some guy’s house. Even on the inside it kind of just looks like a house.

I was highly recommended getting a burger although the shoestring fries outshined their partner. Best thing though are their infused liquors- a peach infused bourbon made for a good base to a ginger fizz.

Chris and I shared big thoughts of terror attacks and what it’s like to live in a world where these things happen all too often.

This, of course, comes after a week full of attacks in Brussels and Lahore and Ankara and the Ivory Coast. We talked about how we handle these events and how to process them, and we also shared our feedback to some of the comments made by very public figures to the Brussels attacks.

In between adventures I like to read about adventures.

Yesterday I sat down with some friends and talked about some of the Oregon adventures we have yet to really do, but that we hope to in the upcoming months… Crater Lake, the Painted Hills, Hellsgate.

For years my definition of adventure seemed to be a purely aesthetic one. Mountains in the background. A tent somewhere in the mix. And really, I love that stuff.

At the same time, backpacking has never been easier. Same with international travel. It’s all so accessible and more people are doing it.

I’m thankful for that, because I’ve benefitted from the time in which I love big time. But I don’t want adventure to be defined as an aesthetic. Something is an adventure as much as it grows you and challenges you and tests you. That could be paragliding or parenthood or taking your parents paragliding and figuring out how to have a healthy adult relationship with them.

Had a really good Friday evening at our friends Dan and Jordan’s place around a campfire. And Jordan makes a mean Moscow mule, which only added to the experience.

So glad to be out of the dead of winter, if for no other reason than the fact that it makes more evenings like this one possible. The earliest warm weekends were made for this sort of thing.

The past several weekends have been so full of life, and I’m thankful for that. So many friends have been hit with really good news lately and I couldn’t be happier for them. Life can be hard sometimes, so I can’t let any win, no matter how small or large, go by without celebrating it.

I know next to nothing about growing plants. I love the outdoors and I love food, so you’d think it would be a pretty natural intersection but the most gardening I’ve ever done was that second grade project where I used food coloring to turn celery blue.

To me gardening seems like strategically burying tiny things and hoping for the best. So that’s what I did this weekend.

As a sign I have no idea what I’m doing, it felt weird using only a very small portion of the basil seeds in the pack so I did everything I could to get more egg cartons to start them in. Deanna tells me I way overdid it and that if I’m successful, I’ll have a basil forest on my hands. I don’t see a problem with that. Forests of basil create swamplands of pesto.

We’ve got growth! Hopefully in a couple months these guys will be the stars of summer hits like pesto sauce or mixed cocktails.

A good part of me was never expecting to see the seeds again once I buried them. Good job, nature.

Also while we’re on the topic of basic agriculture, I wanna shoutout Opportunity International’s micro loan program. Checked it out myself the other day and I’m impressed. Still learning the ropes of the microlending process, but learning by doing is the best.

Found myself on Spencer’s Butte. We’ve lived right next to it for close to a year now, but it’s taken quite a while for us to finally hike up there. Our last time was before we got married.

Went with a couple of friends, took my dog, and made it to the top before even having breakfast.

You can bet that Beignet loved every second of this. Every person we passed noted that she looked like the happiest creature alive.

Weekended the other one with some friends at the top of Spencer’s Butte.

Not bad for a laid back weekend before half marathon madness.

Stuff like this is good for you.

Twentysix Years

This week I got to consult with a group trying to open a homeless shelter in Redmond. They’re interested in a tiny homes plan.

Thankfully one thing Eugene does really well is a housing program that works on multiple areas of the issue, so I joined them on a site visit. Their tiny home village was really impressive, and a mad success. It’s made local city manages, police chiefs, and unhoused people all very happy.

The minister who runs this told me that on the first day somebody had to get kicked out for being too drunk and rowdy and he thought he had created a disaster. But in retrospect, it was one of the best things to have happened to his project. The village council led by residents voted him to be removed, he was able to get addiction help elsewhere, and the system actually worked.

I was impressed by the design of a bunch of these modules, and the community yurt and gazebo. I’d love to take on building one of these some day.

I feel like there’s an art and a science to figuring out where to eat after running thirteen miles. Unfortunately, thirteen miles kind of drains you of any energy to spend on art or science, but thankfully the Bier Stein exists.

A bratwurst sandwich, radler, and Ex Novo lager were easy and obvious choices. Apparently running turns my taste buds German.

With all of this done by the early afternoon, there was only one logical way to spend the rest of our day- immersed in glorious naps.

Hey you guys! Thank you.

Today has been really special- thank you so much for the messages and comments, the thoughtful texts and phone calls, and the contributions to my LiNK fundraising campaign. I really appreciate these things, so really, thanks.

I loved all the warm wishes today- I’m super thankful for the life I get to live and that you all are a part of it.

25 brought marriage, a puppy, and a half marathon into my life. So far, 26 has come with all you can eat sushi. I’d say we’re off to a good start.

Based on my first 36 hours, I’d say 26 is the new 14 with the crazy amounts of sleep my body is demanding me to take. A 2 PM siesta ended up being one of my birthday highlights.

When we plan our activities months out, Deanna and I try to alternate between adventurous weekends and weekends of rest. In between last weekend’s half marathon and next weekend’s Mt. Hood expedition, this is a true weekend off.

So far we’ve spent a sunny afternoon at the dog park and I messed up a batch of macarons. Cheers to the laid back weekends.

We have a TON of Black Butte Porter leftover after last weekend’s carload. Not that that’s a problem or anything. I really needed this weekend to be a restful one, and that’s exactly what I got. An evening of kicking back to Southeast Asian crime thrillers.

I’m not saying that in another life I would be a Metro Manila gang boss, or anything like that, but have you ever wondered how many random circumstances in yours or your family’s history would need to be changed in order for you to be living a totally different sort of existence? There’s the six-degrees-to-Kevin-Bacon game that reveals how close we are to knowing any given person. I wonder if there’s some sort of game to play that gives us any idea of how close we actually are to being totally different people.

When my family started to leave the Philippines in batches decades ago, the USA was the obvious destination. But if we were all born fifty years later, would that have sent me to Saudi Arabia or Dubai? What if that move never even happened? What if my mom decided to stay in Philadelphia instead of moving to California? What if she went back to Illinois?. I really like the life I have right now, though, so I’m fine with not knowing those answers. I’m content to have these crime thrillers to be the extent of my experience in Southeast Asian cartels.

I turned 26 last week.

If were playing Major League Baseball, I should be in my prime now. Spoiler alert: That hasn’t happened to me yet but don’t worry life is actually pretty good. The past year was a thrill ride. I went back to South Africa, I got to see most to the South, I finally got that dog I’ve wanted for decades, oh, and there was something about a half-marathon. Whattt???? Oh, and there was the biggest win of them all, getting married.

If I could talk to myself a year ago, I’d let me know that there’s a lot to look forward to over the next 365 days. Don’t rush through them too fast. Most of them are good days. Being married is amazing, and even better than I expected.

Every year around my birthday, I write list of the biggest things I learned over the past year. I’ve done this for five years straight now, and I’ve loved keeping track of the biggest ideas that seem to follow me around for an extended moment in my life. Things like never taking normal for granted. Appreciating the passing of time. Asking yourself how you can help people. 25 has probably taught me more than any other age so far.

Mt. Hood

Adventures don’t always look like big mountains to climb. But sometimes they do.

A couple of months ago, Deanna, our friend Ben and I, gave climbing Mount Hood a shot to see how far up we’d get. We made it up just past the ski drop off and it was a fun outing to get out into the snow.

One day, I want to climb one of the world’s legendary mountains. In the meantime, this works fine for me!

My Mt. Hood team was a good team. I love feeling like one of the Ice Climbers.

I totally expected this to be a cold expedition and showed up with snow pants and a down jacket on top of everything else. Just a few minutes of steady climbing with sun coming down gets the blood flowing, though. I ended up stopping every few minutes just to shed layers.

Something about mountains. I have bucket list level hopes to do one of the big ones someday, Kilimanjaro, Fuji, etc. Of course I don’t have the funds or physique for that just yet.

Since the half marathon wasn’t too long ago, I decided to not wait too long and try and climb Mt. Hood while still in decent shape. Plus May is supposed to be the best time.

Didn’t summit, but made it far enough to feel good given my lack of much mountaineering experience.

“If you think men climb high mountains for the view or the glory or the hero pictures, then you don’t know much about men or mountains.”.

–William Johnston

I love this quote, though I’m not gonna lie, I’m also a fan of the view and the hero pictures. Plus, I’d love to own an ice pick in the near future. Ice picks are great.

Mountains make for the best moments. I can’t imagine living somewhere the earth isn’t lumpy.


Also, it’s dawning on me that I might not be living here much longer. Eugene, that is. Possibly even Oregon. That part I still don’t know. But now’s a good time to play it safe by taking risks and making sure I leave no stone unturned.

That, and Stranger Things. Man I’m hooked!

Most of the time, I go way out of my way to avoid talking about political stuff.

I doubt this puts me in the minority.

I suspect the majority of people don’t enjoy talking politics. And I can totally understand why. Few conversation topics can cause people to lose all semblance of civility as quickly as politics.

I hold tight to the belief that people matter more than politics, but I also think that politics matter because people are involved and affected by them. I don’t think simply avoiding all conversations about politics as a method of conflict avoidance is always the wisest course of action.

Over the past few months, I’ve actually found myself in some really good discussions that break the mold of political conversations becoming contentious. I’ve enjoyed learning from other people’s points of views and having my own challenged.

I’ve made some resolutions when it comes to talking about politics so that conversations like those could happen more often. Talking politics doesn’t have to suck and no political opinion is worth being a jerk to somebody over. We all want what’s good for the country, even though we have widely differing ideas of what that is at times.

Portland Timbers vs. NYFC

The Timbers have been in a little bit of a funk lately, which is kind of a bummer because I finally got to have my first MLS experience this week.

NYFC outplayed Portland all around, pretty much, but Providence Park was still a really fun outing. We got to see Fanendo Adi saw some tree by way of a goal, snack on Tillamook mac and cheese, and sing along to the whole Timbers playlist.

Let’s do that again, but next time, with a win.

The Timbers dominated Vancouver last weekend. Unfortunately they had very different results when I went to see them the other week.

We got to witness at least one goal on our side of things, which meant the ceremonial tree slicing. I also had a chance to see some of my favorite players in live action, namely the Argentine, Diego Valeri. And since food is a pretty big deal to me no matter where I end up going, it’s worth noting that the stadium fare included Tillamook grilled cheese sandwiches, buffalo wing wraps, and some Argentine empanadas (that were double the size of any you’d find in Argentina and about ten times the price.)

Now is the best time to start getting into Major League Soccer.

The fan bases may be smaller than many other sports, but they make up for it with extremely colorful fan cultures. Plus it’s a great way to get into the rest of the sport with many big names taking up more and more MLS stints.

It always feels good to be a part of a collective something, and a fan group is no exception.

Baseball, football, and basketball are all alive and well in the U.S., but for those of us who long to be a part of its golden era, it seems that it’s too late. The golden era of soccer is approaching, however, and it’ll be a fun one to participate in.

Pretty proud of the Portland representation for Team USA en la Copa so far… Darlington Nagbe FTW.

Here’s to racking up some more slabs the next time I make it to Providence Park.

Oregon in May

One of the odd jobs I worked for a really short while was at a movie theatre. I loved the old retired guys who would come in for Tuesday morning matinees, treating themselves to a flick and no self consciousness.

I tried to celebrate getting older last week by doing the same thing, and treating myself to go see Civil War. Plus, I don’t have any superhero lovin’ friends in town to my knowledge, so it was either go alone or wait for the DVD and try to avoid spoilers for months.

I went in totally ready to be on Team Cap. I thought he was kind of a wild card in that movie though, so you are all welcome to join me over on Team T’Challa. Wakanda forever.

“I guess part of growing up is learning how to allow the lost things of the past to make new roots and grow, to become new and greater things by digging down into memory and image and rise up again in a new form.”
–Tyson Motsenbocker
This quote seemed relevant since at the end of the week I’ll be in San Diego, the city where I grew up.

Increasingly, roots are asserting themselves as what I find really valuable. Having a sense of origin and allowing that to feed you. This makes sense to me in both a mega-cosmic spiritual sort of way and as a reference to childhoods and past homes and longtime friendships.
With my roots being spread quite far in terms of geography, it takes a lot of extra effort to give them their deserved attention. It’s always worth it, though.

And speaking of roots, my mint seems to be doing the best out of anything I planted. If I can measure success by mojito potential, things should be great in the late summer.

I think a lot of you are probably aware that my love of books goes pretty deep. From the days of me taking total advantage of Borders going out of business to scavenging thrift shops for travel guides to use as wedding props, I’ve accumulated quite the library over the years. Also, when Deanna and I got married, we wound up with a lot of second copies of the same title. I guess that’s a good sign we had a few things in common.

It’s probably a pretty good sign of personal progress and decluttering that I’m ready to drastically trim down my bookshelves to make room for new reads and to make sure everything can comfortably fit on there. Plus, a lot of the books I’ve trimmed down are either second copies or ones I’m unlikely to read again with all the things I have yet to read that I still hope to get to.

With all that said, I’m going to Powells on Monday with several stacks of books I’m looking to resell, but I thought I would check with my friends to see if there are any titles that interest you… there are some weird ones I’m getting rid of, as well as some all-time faves, but I won’t judge either way! I only ask that you Venmo me a little for shipping if you live far from me.

Vonnegut, Laura Hillenbrand, Jonathan Safran Foer, C.S. Lewis, Pico Iyer, Barbara Kingsolver await! See my blog- link in profile, for the list of hundreds of books that are up for grabs.

Eugene just lost one of its better coffee shops.

I went in on Friday for one last donut muffin, a latte, and an extra splurge of lox pie.

When legalized marijuana was up for a vote about a year ago, arguments in favor of lower incarceration rates and more efficient criminal justice were convincing enough to get it passed. The opposing side brought up gateway drug and slippery slope arguments, and so on, to no avail. Their arguments would have been a lot stronger if they brought up the dystopian future in which Barry’s loses its lease to a Cannabis Supply Shop.

Poking around the Sub-Pop store and trying to grab some fish and chips are the two most redeeming things about having a layover in Seattle.

I try to wear Timbers gear whenever I fly Alaska. Even when their flight routes take me through rival territory. Sometimes I wonder if people see me in my jersey, perhaps purchasing something with my Alaska mileage card thinking my customer loyalty game is ridiculous. But I’ve been on flights where wearing Timbers gear has resulted in perks like early boarding, so I can handle the judgement.

No dice this flight, but I did get comped some Portland Brewing Pale Ale, so no complaints.

This past weekend was one where we intentionally tried to not do too much, since it fell in between two travel weekends. We ended up not doing too much and getting plenty of rest, but also, we had plenty of fun, including two foreign film discoveries on Netflix we really liked.

Le Chef is a simple romantic comedy, but with French chefs so we know it’s good. I overlooked it for so long by mistaking it for a French baking competition I had already seen.

Trash is a Brazilian film featuring a group of kids who live on a landfill and get by via scavenging. They find a wallet with random contents– a lotto ticket, a key, a bookmark, which ends up turning into a neat little puzzle film in which they uncover some big time political corruption.

And as if that wasn’t good enough, we also spent our weekend just wandering around the 5th Street Market and picked up a couple macarons. I had a root beer float macaron that was spot on. How on earth do they do that?