Saturday, November 24, 2012

Fall Report

Since it is Black Friday and raining outside I figured I would write a blog post. In this post I will highlight some of the things that I have been up to since my last post at the end of September.   

View of Mt. Hood one crisp fall morning from my office in downtown  Portland, OR
The first thing I have been up to is getting used to the change from summer to fall. As we hit October the temperatures started to cool somewhat. In addition to cooler temperatures, the rainy season began. This will last until June from what I hear from the locals. It may not have been good for plants, trees, and anything else depending on water but we went nearly 90 days without any significant rain. According to one story I saw, we had no measurable rain from July 21st to September 9th.  Starting in mid-October we started to make up for it. I enjoyed the period without rain from a bicycling perspective. It was nice to have to not worry about rain on my daily commute. I am prepared for the rain though and have experienced a few days of getting soaked. I have a cycling jacket, a pair of water proof warm weather pants, a water proof helmet cover, and water proof shoes.

Alethea in warm weather bike gear retrieving a free pizza for dinner
Speaking of cycling I am still riding to work on most days. It has to be raining pretty hard or I have to be experiencing a mechanical issue for me to miss a day. On some mornings it has been down in the 30’s but I am plenty warm with all my gear. When it gets below about 45 degrees I switch to my ski mask. Only problem with the ski mask is that  my cycling glasses fog up due to respiration being trapped and pushed up through the eye opening. Lately, I have been riding without the glasses which are only used to keep debris from getting into my eyes which has happened a few times.

My bike - the only set of wheels I own :-)
I have experienced a few mechanical issues over the last couple months. I suffered a flat during my work commute one morning. I ran over a large industrial sized staple. It punctured my rear tire. Luckily, I was only half mile from work and it was not raining. The bad news was that I was going in early for a biometric health screening. I got there just a little late and my pulse and heart rate were elevated due to the excitement. My other mechanical issue had to do with my front tube which was leaking at a fast rate. I decided to replace it and when I did I over inflated it causing it to explode. I then put on another tube and punctured it when putting the tire back on the rim with my bike levers so in went tube number three. This time I took the advice of my wife and did some online research looking for some new techniques and watched some YouTube videos. I had changed flats before and attended some fix a flat classes but the new techniques allow me to change a flat much quicker with better technique. I should be much better at this going forward. I did exchange our pump for another one at REI since the pressure gauge was off by quite a bit. It was still my fault for over inflating my tires though.

This staple resulted in a flat tire on the way to work one morning
I would say the highlight of the last couple months was when my mom and dad decided to pay us a visit. They were in town for week in the second half of October. We did our best to show them around. Alethea did a great job as our tour guide and navigator!

Alethea & mom @ Hopworks Urban Brewery - Portland, OR
We kept mom and dad busy each day. We wanted to make sure they slept well each night. The next paragraph is a synopsis of what we did while they were here.

Mom & Dad at Pier 39 in Astoria, OR
On the day they arrived Dad and I went to a Portland Trail Blazers pre-season game while Alethea and mom went to a modern dance performance downtown. On day two I had to work while Alethea took mom and dad around town. They took the Portland Streetcar around town, visited the Japanese Gardens, Pittock Mansion, and picked me up after work. We then went out to eat at one of our favorite pubs Hopworks Urban Brewery.  I took Friday off and we made a day of it completing the ocean loop as I like to call it. We drove to Astoria, Seaside, and Cannon Beach where we saw Haystack Rock. The weather was not great but we had a good time. The next day we went to the Portland Farmer’s Market (where mom & dad got a $45 parking ticket – sorry about that), David Hill Winery , Montinore Estate (winery) and then went to McMenamins Grand Lodge to watch Tennessee get whipped by Alabama. The next day we drove up a couple hours to the north to Mt. St. Helens where we spent the day. Visibility was not great but there was still plenty to see including some snow! The next day was a rest day for mom and dad. They did drive in for Alethea to prepare a healthy salmon dinner. The following day mom, dad, & Alethea visited the Columbia Gorge area and drove to Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood where they encountered some more snow. We finished the day with some pizza at Apizza Scholls before calling it a night.

Mom & Dad on top of the Astoria Column
I believe mom and dad had a good time. The weather did not always cooperate and it was a lot of driving at times. I enjoyed spending time with them and getting to show them the greater Portland area that we enjoy so much.

Dad needed a pre-trip nap one day :-)
 Let’s see what else has been going on. I had an enjoyable time on my birthday. I will not go into too much detail since Alethea wrote a blog post about it that can be found by clicking here. We spent the day taking advantage of free things you can do on your birthday here in Portland.

Mom & Dad @ Haystack Rock - Cannon Beach, OR
I made quite a bit of progress selling things I no longer needed. Within the last month I have sold my iPod, computer speakers, external DVD drive, and my netbook. I use my iPhone for so much of my personal computing that I no longer needed those items. I made more money selling those items than what my iPhone cost!

The bathroom key is attached to a wine bottle @ Urban Decanter in Forest Grove, OR
We did get a little bit of bad news. Alethea found out earlier this month that she is going to have to surgery on her hip. It had been bothering her for some time. She saw a specialist and tried physical therapy for some time but that did not work. She had a MRI where they discovered a tear in her hip that will require surgery to repair. We do not have a date yet. It may happen in mid-December. I feel bad for her but at least we know the extent of the problem and what will hopefully fix it. She’ll be immobile for a period of time and will require months of physical therapy but hopefully in 6 months she’ll be back to  feeling 100%.

The north face of Mt. St. Helen's made a brief appearance @ the Johnston Ridge Observatory
Well that pretty much sums up what I’ve been up to over the last couple months. I plan on spending the remaining part of my 4 day weekend getting started with plotting out my goals for 2013. I plan on following the guidance of Dan Miller by establishing areas of achievement in seven key areas. I also plan to watch a little football and run a few errands before getting back to work.

Click here for the photo album of pics from Mom & Dad's visit to Oregon.

Video of Sea Lions in Astoria