It’s Never Too Late!

Hey Everyone!

The past couple of weeks have been so hot that I haven’t left the house unless it was absolutely necessary. Wednesday was finally better. As much as I hate the heat, a high of 84 is definitely better than anything in the 90’s or hitting triple digits. The earlier part of the day was in the 70’s so it was bearable.

I needed to get out of the house and go do something, so I went exploring in the city. I drove around for a bit, looking for interesting architecture and murals on buildings and such. I was successful in my quest. I ended up in the area of Hawthorne Blvd, and the Alberta Arts District. These two areas are uniquely Portland.

I am trying to get out of my comfort zone more and explore this city that I grew up in. There are still areas that I am unfamiliar with, and I am trying to change that. I am trying to become more familiar with different parts of this city.

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It was absolutely Chaos!!!!

Hey Everyone!

I can’t believe it has taken me this long to finally write this post! It’s been a week and a half since I went to the beach.

Some long time friends of my mom’s, from Canada were in town, so they, my mom and I went to the beach while they were in town.

The beach is one of my absolute favorite places so I couldn’t say no to going.

We had gone to Tillamook and went through the remodeled cheese factory there in Tillamook. It had just reopened within the month prior (possibly within two weeks prior to when we went) and it was crazy busy. That crazy busy is not my thing but it is good for business and really good for the economy there. Everyone I was with got to get free samples and then bought ice cream cones. I had to abstain since I can’t eat dairy.

We then went up to my favorite spot in Rockaway Beach, to go down on the beach. I absolutely love this spot. On the drive, as we were coming into the south end Rockaway, as we had driven north from Tillamook, through the town of Garibaldi we saw the OCSR Steam Engine pulling into town.

We were on the beach a good hour or two. From there we headed north to Cannon Beach to get dinner at Mo’s. I had this really delicious grilled salmon. We were able to eat out on the patio, and it was a beautiful evening.

While we were in Cannon Beach, someone was having a campfire on the beach. The smell of a campfire mixed with the ocean air is one of my favorite smells ever.

Having a Healthy Respect for the Ocean

Hey Everyone!

The unfortunate has happened again, just yesterday. A young man was boogie boarding in the ocean on the Oregon Coast, and got swept out. His dad went in after him and unfortunately died trying to rescue his son.

These unfortunate tragedies happen every year. I don’t know if people underestimate their swimming ability or what, but the ocean is a force that is not to be messed with.

That is one thing I have heard my whole life is to never underestimate the power of the ocean, because it can kill you if you aren’t careful. While we don’t have sharks or anything like that really off the Oregon Coast, besides the typical ocean current, which is powerful in and of itself, we also get rip currents which are hazardous to swimmers if you get in one. Even if everything looks calm, and it’s a beautiful day with blue skies and little wind, they can still be there under the surface.

For the average beach goers who just wants to go wading a little bit and get their feet wet, really have nothing to worry about. It’s when you start getting out deeper, swimming, surfing, boogie boarding, etc when problems tend to arise and people need the coast guard to come rescue them, if they even survive.

Having grown up in Oregon, and having been going to the beach here in Oregon since I was a baby, I was taught all about rip currents and how powerful the ocean is and how important it is to have a healthy respect for it. I have been to the beach in Florida and Hawaii as well, and the mindset I was raised with, that the ocean is not a swimming pool, and it needs to be respected.

Challenging Myself to do more Hiking!

Hey Everyone!

I love hiking, I really do, I just don’t do it often enough to really be building up my endurance. I am trying to change all that.

There is something about being out in the woods that I love. I love listening to the birds chirp and sing. I would love to be able to know what birds I am hearing by the sound they make.

I have also thought it would be interesting to learn some of the basics about botany so I can better tell what plants I am seeing while I am out and know what is poisonous and what’s not. For instance I know I saw poison oak out there today but to be able to see it quickly at a glance I cannot tell you where all I saw it on that mountain.

There are plenty of hikes that I would love to do, but I am not able to do them yet, without a ton of exertion and having it take all day. That is why I am doing a lot of the same hikes over and over again right now, they are still challenging enough that I can start getting into shape on these easier courses, and work up to eventually doing other trails.

My Danner hiking boots are finally getting broken in to the point where I am not getting blisters every time I hike. I also tape my toes and use moleskin on my heels.

Things I have Learned from Traveling (even within my own Country)

Hey Everyone!

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I have been seeing the whole “15 things European’s think the Americans are doing wrong”. I don’t give much credence to the list, but I do know that every country has people who are egotistical pricks who believe that where they are from is the only place that is right, and everyone else is wrong, and they love to pick on my country, yet get all butt hurt when anyone else (especially an American) says anything negative about their country or compares it to home.

IF YOU DON’T LIKE HOW THINGS ARE DONE IN MY COUNTRY, THEN DON’T COME VISIT, AND YOU ARE OUT OF LINE TO TALK CRAP ABOUT IT. ONLY THOSE OF US WHO LIVE HERE CAN TALK SMACK ABOUT IT.

When you go and visit someplace new, especially some place as big as the United States, it’s going to be a culture shock. There are many different regions that have their own culture. The U.S. is huge, we have states larger than many European countries.

*to preface what I am going to talk about in the next paragraph, when I am talking about the UK, I am speaking in reference to the entire United Kingdom which includes: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland*

For example, there are 11 States that are larger than the United Kingdom, and the US is roughly 40 times larger than the UK. Alaska in and of itself is 7 times the size of the UK. The comparisons here I am taking into account is the total number of square miles / square kilometers. It’s weird to think that my home state of Oregon is larger than the whole of the United Kingdom. It’s weird to me, because Oregon about 1/3 the size of Texas and about 3/20 the size of the state of Alaska. Granted there are roughly 29 European countries smaller than the smallest state in the US, which is Rhode Island.

The US is a very culturally diverse country, and not at all like Europe. Even traveling around my own country, I have run into culture shock. New England is culturally different from the Urban core of the Pacific Northwest. Even within the states of Oregon and Washington, they are a bit different from each other, but even when looking at these two states, the I-5 corridor from Eugene to the south, up to the Canadian border to the north, are culturally and politically different from the rest of their respective states.

Because I am from Oregon I will use it as reference, the Willamette Valley, and Bend are very progressive and Liberal, while the rest of the state (especially Eastern Oregon, and southern Oregon is somewhere in the middle) is more conservative in terms of culture and politics.

I was just in Washington the other day, and every time I cross the river into Washington (because this part of Oregon and Washington is just separated by the Columbia River), and I have to remind myself that Washington has Sales Tax and that I have to pump my own gas. Those are two of the most obvious and biggest differences. Whenever I go to Washington, and stop at a store or restaurant, 99% of the time I don’t try to go through the process to not pay sales tax. Most of the time, I am not spending enough money to justify going through the hassle of not paying it. I am also of the mindset that, I chose to leave Oregon, therefore if I stop at a store or restaurant I should be supporting their economy, since I am not at home. Washington doesn’t have a state income tax, so their taxes come in through sales tax. It’s the way it works, and if I don’t like it, I shouldn’t have left Oregon. I am not going to be the prick who expects others to accommodate me when I am on their home territory.

In traveling around my own country, as well as British Columbia (Canada), I have learned to go with the flow, as they do things differently wherever I am going to. Just because things are done differently from where I come from, doesn’t mean they are wrong, and doesn’t give me the right (or entitlement) to force them to do things like we do where I come from.

Traveling is a huge learning experience, which will include some culture shock, and at times force you into new situations that are unfamiliar. If you didn’t want to experience a different way of life that was not totally familiar or completely different from your own, then you should have just stayed home, in your own familiar surroundings.

Keeping up The Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and Tigger

Hey Everyone!

Since I have entered my 30’s I have been debating on continuing the whole “The Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and Tigger”, where I take them with me and photograph them on my adventures, or do I want to leave that behind in my 20’s.

There’s a part of me that wants to keep it going because it’s fun to look back on and see all the places I have been, and seen in the different seasons. There’s also a part of me that wonders if there is a right time to stop, and if so when? Is it too childish for someone of my age to be taking miniature stuffed animals with me on adventures and taking pictures of them?

Going Back to Traditional Sunblock

Hi Everyone!

Over the course of the past year or so I have bee testing out different brands of mineral based sunblocks. I am not paid for any of this, and all he sunblocks I have tried I bought with my own money.

I have tried Babyganics, Badger, and Baby Bum brands of the mineral based sunblocks.

I want to preface this all by saying that I have never had an allergic reaction or sensitivity to the regular brands of sunscreen. I was trying the mineral based for the sake of fewer chemicals….

Over the course of the year of trying the mineral based sunblocks, reading the ingredients, they still have a ton of chemicals in them so if it is trying to stay away from chemicals going on your skin, even the more “natural” sunscreens on the market are full of them.

In the times I have used the mineral based ones, I didn’t like how they felt going on, or having a white residue left behind no matter how hard I tried to rub it in. I also didn’t like how they felt in my skin later on (like two to three hours after application). I also don’t feel that they protected my skin as well as the mainstream brands do. I have also tried the Clinique city sheer sunscreen. It is an SPF 25 so I would be more apt to use it if it was a nice day and I was going to be out and about and I wanted a bit of extra protection but I wasn’t planning on being out in the sun constantly. The only drawback and down side I have with the Clinique is hat it comes tinted and I don’t particularly care for that.

Yesterday I was out on a hike, it was in the mid – 60’s and I feel like I was getting darker than I should have and burning within an hour of application. The bugs also loved attacking me. I don’t know if it was just me or something in the mineral based sunblocks that was attracting them. I haven’t had that much of an issue with bug attacking me since I was in Missouri, almost 12 years ago. I have never had issues like that while having traditional sunblocks applied to my skin.

I have fair skin, so having adequate sun protection is important to me, while still being able to be comfortable in warm – hot weather. Any more when I know I am going out to go hiking or to the beach, or just going to be outside for a while, I definitely try to remember to wear a hat and lather on the sunblock.

While I am not a huge fan of putting extra chemicals on my skin, for the few hours I am going to be out in the sun (which is not a daily occurrence living here in the northern Willamette Valley), and then showering when I get home. I’d rather wear sunblock and greatly reduce my chances of skin cancer from over exposer to the sun than not use anything at all.

I had stopped at Target yesterday, on my way home from my hike and picked up some regular brands of sunscreen. The Neutrogena is for my face, as it is the ultra sheer dry touch formula, since I am prone to breakouts if it is too greasy and oily. The Coppertone Sport is for the rest of my body that is exposed to the sun, like my arms, legs, neck and chest since it doesn’t matter so much if the sunblock is a little bit greasy as long as it rubs in. I know that both the neutrogena and the coppertone work for me and I don’t have any allergies to them. I also realize that 55 and 70 are in many ways over kill in terms of sunblock, but that added SPF helps it to last a bit longer between applications and help my pale skin from burning or getting darker, to me it is worth it.