Month: December 2015

Pre-Birthday Adventure

Hi Everyone!

Today is the day before my birthday. Beings I had the day off, one of my friends and I wanted to hang out for my birthday and today worked out. 

Our original idea was to go to the Chinese Garden, but it is closed for renovations so we went to the Pittock Mansion. 

  The Pittock Mansion is a beautiful chateau style mansion that sits on a 46 acre parcel of land in the West Hills over looking the city. Construction began in 1909 and was completed in 1914. Georgiana Pittock passed away in 1918 and Henry Pittock passed away in 1919. The extended family remained in residence until the late 1950’s. 

Today was one of the few nice days we have had this month (it has been grey, and rainy most of the month). You could see Mt. Saint Helens and Mt. Hood covered in snow today, it was chilly but beautiful.  

 I have heard that in general you take for granted the scenery around you and you don’t miss it or realize what you had until you are gone.

That is not true for me in terms of the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. I have lived here my whole life, but have traveled enough to know what I have. I have never gotten tired of seeing the snow capped mountains, or just the mountains in general. I always am in awe when I see them.  

When I was in college I lived closer to the coast range, and I had moved between sophomore and Junior years, so I went from walking to class to driving a couple miles in for school, and the quickest route was also the prettiest route. Where I could look out over the fields and off to the coast range, and I loved my drive to School. 

I love going and seeing history in person, the Pittock Mansion is one of those places that is full of history, Henry Pittock who had the mansion built and was the original owner was a pioneer to the Oregon Territory as well as a publisher and editor for the Oregonian back when Oregon was still a new state. He was also a business man who also owned paper mills. He is a fixture in Portland and Oregon history. 

My friend and I had also gone to the Gate Lodge, where the groundskeeper and his family lived. The exterior fits with the chateau style of the mansion, but the interior looks more like a cottage that belongs in England. The mansion is pretty, but the gate house was my favorite, it actually looked like a home. 


New Travel Gear for Christmas

Hi Everyone! 

We had our family Christmas this past Sunday, and my brother had gotten me an REI gift card, and I used it today to help toward a 58 litre backpack for traveling. I am in the early stages of planning a trip for this next spring in which I could use the larger backpack. 

I had been looking at the REI Flash 58 pack for several months and had tried it on to see how it would fit a few months ago. It was a perfect fit for my torso. It seems to be the perfect size to fit in hiking boots, a pair of good shoes, clothes for how long I will be gone, some church clothes if that is at all in the plans as well as souvenirs. 

I also picked up a Steripen for when I am out places where te water quality may be questionable. I am used to water out of the bullrun reservoir. Being able to clean my water is a big deal when traveling. 

I had also picked up a new water bottle for when I am hiking here locally. It has a small top which I like because it is easier to drink from.


Looking back at my 2015 Adventures

Hey Everyone!

As this year is drawing to and end, and as I start looking forward to the adventures I want to take in 2016, I can’t help but look back at the adventures I had had this year. I actually had to go back through my albums on the Adventure is my Middle Name Facebook Page to see what all I had done this past year. I was kind of surprised at how many adventures I had been on. A lot of that has to do with having a job and being able to afford some extra gas.

In January one of my friends and I had gone to the Chinese Garden, it has become a yearly tradition for us to go during their free days. We always get there early to beat the crowds and actually enjoy the tranquility of the garden. It is one of my favorite places in the city. I had been once not long after it opened while I was in middle school, but didn’t have the appreciation for what it is, as I do now.  

In February I had taken the short drive across the Columbia River and had gone to Fort Vancouver. Exploring old forts and ghost towns (even if they are restored for preservation) are two of my favorite pass times. Forts like Fort Vancouver, Fort Columbia and Fort Stevens had a key role (them and steam trains), is shaping the American West as we know it. It’s that history and heritage that I love. Back when these forts were built the west was still “wild”, left only to the First Nations tribes, fur traders, the Chinese (particularly in San Francisco and Vancouver BC in the early days, but they had a presence in Portland and Seattle as well), and the Army. So when you really stup and think about it, the west coast was very ethnically diverse for a very long time. You had the First Nations who were out here, the French and British for fir trading and British for land, you had the Spanish on the southwest claiming land, adding in the Chinese, Japanese and eventually the American’s, the diversity was great. The forts that I mentioned above were built by the U.S. As part of the land race of the west, to claim territory and set up “civilization” in the wild uncharted wilderness.

Get me started on the 19th and early 20th century history of the American West, and I am fascinated by it, interested in it and passionate about it. I enjoy trying to understand all that was going on, not just militarily and politically but socially as well, particularly the everyday lives of everyday people that we don’t read about, besides being a mere statistic in a History book. I enjoy trying to understand the gender roles of the time, and what the women actually did on a daily basis just to survive.

In the spring and summer I went to the beach quite a bit, between three trips on the Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad, in the Garibaldi/Rockaway Beach area as well as a trip to the Oregon Rail Hertiage Center I spent some time around old steam locomotives. They are one of the things that are fascinating to me. They really dos change the face of the American West. They really opened up the west and made it possible for so many more people to come out west. They also aided in the transport of gold and silver.

In August I had gone up to Seattle for VloggerFair, which is a YouTube convention. I went so I could meet James and Ashley (and Baby Chick) of the Chick’s Life, as well as Bryan & Missy, Ellie and Jared, and Cullen & Katie. I stayed long enough to meet them all and then I headed out. I had left before the whole Sam and Nia getting kicked out drama happened. The day before I had picked up a friend of mine and her sister who were going back up to Tacoma (which is on the way to Seattle). We had stopped in Chehalis for a bathroom and coffee break, we needed up at the Safeway there in town. As we were leaving I was like “how did we manage to get in and out of the Safeway in a small town without seeing anyone we know from church?” Not even 5 minutes later in the parking lot my friend was like “Erica? Is that who I think it is?” I look up (as I was putting my purse and stuff in the car), stand there trying to figure out what she was talking about and then was like “No Way!” It was who she thought it was, and he is someone I have known my whole like and look up to and respect, so I knew who she was talking about without her having to tell me. So we all went over and said hi, and chatted for a few minutes before we got o the road again. We dropped my friends sister off at her parents hose before continuing on to Stadium,

 and my hotel so I could check in. We then got dinner and went to Target, then went and saw tomorrowland, before I took her back to Tacoma. Saturday morning I tracked down a gluten free began bakery I the Fremont neighborhood, and accidentally found the Fremont Troll,

 before I went to VloggerFair. After I left Vloggerfair, I tried to get to pikes place but it was like New York City crowded so I gave up trying to find a park, went got gas, got food and then headed back south, stopping a couple times for coffee.

October, my big adventure was going up to the Johnston Ridge observatory on Mt Saint Helens on my own, that was pretty awesome, just being able to be outside in the middle of nowhere driving in the woods. It was a blast.

This year I only did like 3 hikes, which really wasn’t enough. I love hiking and need to get out and do more.

If you want to see more pictures there are a bunch more on the Facebook Page, which is titled Adventure is my Middle Name. Or can be found here

Seeing my Hometown Differently 

Hey Everyone!

Ever since I went away to college, I have felt like an out of towner in the city I grew up in.

In the past couple years especially, I have been seeing this city differently, even though there are areas I know really well, I have been paying attention more. Sometimes when I am in a different part of the city I feel like I am in a different city.

Portland typical has grey, dreary, wet winters, which I personally love, but this year is no exception. The rainfall that we have gotten in November and So far in December has been well above average.

That being said, I had gone over to one of the offices where I am doing a training class this week, and the power was out there as well, so after a bit we  dispersed and will reconvene later today once the power is back on.

There is a stretch of road I regularly drive when I go to the office, that I keep wanting to be able to stop and take pictures, because the houses are amazing as is the view of the city. Most of the houses in this particular neighborhood are old, some a big and they have a lot of history. I love exploring new places, and places that I don’t normall take the time to explore.

Beings that I got sent home for a bit, I decided to stop and take pictures in this area today in my way back to the house.


As some of you know I love architecture. Architecture is a huge part of history and signifies different eras of history.



Like I said earlier, I have been seeing this city like I am not from here, and taking it all in. That is in part because I don’t know how much longer I will be staying, and I am trying to make the most of the time that I am still here regularly.

Hey Everyone!

There are events, situations or even TV commercials that remind me of where we have come from as a culture, and how our history has shaped the life I am able to lead. 

There was a progressive commercial on the TV tonight that was supposed to be set in the 1950’s (though it was filmed in the last year), and it made me stop and think about how far and how progressive our society has come and become in the past century. There are things I don’t often think about, like wearing glasses, or being left handed or even the fact that my current job title is Engineering Assistant, that remind me that I live in a day an age where I can see with the aid of glasses or contacts, and that I could just learn to write with my left hand (rather than being forced to learn to write with my right hand), and that I can go out and get a job, without it being stigmatized as being solely a man’s job. I was also reminded that I can go out into the business world and generally be taken seriously. I really haven’t come across situations where I really felt out of place at work because I was a woman. I also love that my interests can be as diverse as they are, they range from enjoying hiking, fishing, the great outdoors, and steam engine trains to Knitting, cooking, baking and canning. I enjoy being able to be a well round individual who isn’t limited to specific roles and tasks just because I am a girl. 

I live that I am part of history, and that if I have children and Grandchildren I can tell them about how their mom and grandmother went on awesome science related field trips in middle school, by choice, studied history, and experienced history, and spent at least a year working in the engineering field. 

Today is also Pearl Harbor Day,this year is the 74th anniversary of the date that will live in Infamy. I had the privilege to go to the Pearl Harbor memorial, and go out and see the sunken USS Arizona, as well as go aboard the USS Missouri while I was in Hawaii, more than 8 years ago. Looking down at that sunken ship where more than 1,000 young men have been entombed for 74 years now (65 years at that time), was eerie. Being out there as well as aboard the USS Missouri made the Second World War real for me, and I had been where it happened, and it was no longer just in history books and something that my grandparents had lived through. It was real. 

Tree Lighting 

Hey Everyone!

Long Time no post, I know. 

This weekend has been busy. Friday I went to the town where the university I attended is located. I had gone down for the tree lighting. In front of the oldest building that is still in use on campus (constructed in 1871, the school has been in existence since 1856) there stands a now 128 year old giant sequoia tree. They have been lighting it up with Christmas Lights for years. From the right places you can see the lit up tree from miles away. It is also awesome that the tree is still alive and therefore the same tree is used each year. It also made it through the Columbus Day Storm. Another tree just a few feet to the south had taken out the bell town and part of Campbell Hall. I love the architecture of Campbell hall, it is older and so grand. It is completely made out of bricks. 

The original Campbell Hall   
After the Columbus Day Storm

 Campbell Hall Now (the big tree on the right is the one they put lights on each year):  

Where the south wing used to be is now the north end of the humanities/social science/English building. 

The tree, all lit up:   
Yesterday I had gone to a wedding, which was simple, short, sweet and to the point. Just the way I like weddings to be. 

The church had already  basically decorated for Christmas, with a few changes for the wedding. Beings that I had gone over with my brother, who had helped put the platform back to normal for church this morning, there wasn’t a lot of changes done to the sanctuary.