Saturday, July 19, 2014

Super Farmy


When I showed Paul the photos I picked out for this blog post, he described them as "super farmy" which is exactly right. There are so many farms in Eugene. Outside the city limits, it turns to farmland pretty quickly, which is awesome if you want to go u-picking someplace that's only 15 minutes away. These pictures are from Adkins Blueberry Farm, where we went on the 4th of July. It was kind of too hot outside, the blueberries weren't quite ripe, and I almost fainted, but now we have frozen blueberries for our yogurt every morning, so it was worth it!


Today we went to Detering Orchards which is where we went this past October to pick apples and where I met some cows.  


Today we were going for u-pick peaches and pickling cucumbers, but we also got some stuff pre-picked at their cute market stand. We ended up making peach salsa when we got home. We canned 12 jars!


When Paul was picking peaches, I got a little distracted by some insects. I stopped to take a few pictures, and by the time I found Paul again, he had a whole bucket full of peaches. They were very ripe. If you want peaches, get out there right now!


It ended up being a great day. On Wednesday I had two procedures done at the hospital, and I'd been feeling crappy the rest of the week. Today boosted my spirits. I think inexpensive fruit you picked yourself and baby goats will do that to you.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Biological Illustrations


I just thought I would quickly share what Paul and I produced during our two weekends of biological illustration class. We worked Saturdays and Sundays 8-5, with an hour for lunch at noon. Other than that we were drawing until we couldn't draw anymore. Each day we completed one final project on hard illustration board, ready to be framed. I apologize in advance for how crappy my little point and shoot camera is at taking detail shots of flat drawings. 



The first day, we worked on smooth shading. Mine is on the top and is a dolphin sacrum and Paul's is on the bottom and is a seal atlas.



The next day we did line drawings with pen and ink. Mine is a vertebrae and Paul's is the same seal atlas from a different angle. 



The next day we did fish. We each got our own fish, caught the day before, and they reeked, especially when Paul and I came in the lab at 11 pm (after a bonfire on the beach that we didn't want to miss out on) to finish these drawings. These drawings were done completely to scale. We even measured and counted every single ray on the fins and tried to get an accurate number of scales. This day was exhausting. Again, mine's on top, Paul's is on the bottom.


Then the last day we used scratch board, which is a board with a light clay coating. What we made black with ink, we could then go back with an x-acto knife and scratch away to get white again, which is how I drew this piece. We had to choose three things to draw, and I chose a leaf with berries, a barnacle, and a little tiny hummingbird. While I never want to sit for nine hours up close and personal with a fish again, I had a fantastic time, and I'm really proud of what Paul and I made. 


Monday, June 23, 2014

The Longest Post Pretty Much Ever


This post is going to be long, random, and picture heavy, so get ready. These are some things that have been going on in the last month! This first picture is of Sweet Cheeks Winery. My friends Olivia, Nina, and I went just before Memorial Day. It was beautiful. And you get to taste three of their most popular wines for free, which was nice because I'm not a wine person, and I got to try things without any risk of it being a waste of money. See, I'm very frugal which is the nice way of saying cheap, and to me, even $3 on a flight of wines I didn't like would be a waste, so I appreciated the free wine, and the view. 


On Memorial Day, we adopted another cat! Joey is on the right posing with some dragon fruit, and our new cat is the big fluffy brown one on the left and her name is Buffy. First of all, it's a great cat name. Secondly, Paul and I spent all month finishing the last three seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, so I had Buffy on the brain. Having two cats is awesome. We got Buffy from a shelter and they think she's about four. She was found in an industrial part of town, full of highways and concrete, and she was covered in mattes that the shelter had to shave off, so now she has funny bald patches all over her belly. She's has the loudest purr, big paws, and is very clumsy.  After a few days of hissing, our cats have come to love, or at least tolerate each other. Joey is obsessed with her and follows her everywhere. Buffy even licked Joey's face when Joey was sleeping. I'm just going to stop here or else I'll write twelve more paragraphs about all the cute things they've done. 


Paul, our friend Nina, and I all went strawberry picking at eight in the morning on the very blustery first day of June. We came back with about 17 pounds of strawberries. They filled up eight 64 ounce Nancy's yogurt containers, which we have a lot of because I go through plain yogurt like it's going out of style (I like it with a spoonful of peanut butter and a handful of homemade granola). The first thing we made with our plethora of berries was strawberry ice cream. Words can't do this ice cream justice. It has six ingredients: strawberries, condensed milk, heavy cream, a little sugar, salt, and vinegar. The salt and vinegar ended up making it taste extremely nostalgic. I don't know how to describe it. I've never had plain strawberry ice cream this good or this fresh, and I've never had strawberry ice cream from an old fashioned diner, but it tasted exactly the way I imagined fresh strawberry ice cream from a diner is supposed to taste. 


In addition to wineries, cats, and strawberries, in the last month Paul graduated from college! It was kind of an intense weekend, but we survived! Even though we're now both graduated, the most recent thing we did was take a college class together. On the southern Oregon coast, there is an outpost of UO called OIMB, the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology. We are taking a Biological Illustration class there. It's two weekends, and we just got back from the first one. We stayed in the dorms there, which are adorable. They feed you three homemade meals a day, at 7, 12, and 5:30, and they ring a big bell to let the whole campus know it's food time. I never went to overnight camp as a kid, but in my head, this is exactly what camp is like. We spent all weekend, from eight in the morning until the dinner bell doing biological illustrations, and then spent our free time at the beach, playing cornhole and watching the sunset. It was amazing and I can't wait to go back next weekend.





I figured I'd include some of the drawings I worked on over the weekend. All of the stuff I'm really proud of I already turned in, but these are some of the preparatory sketches. The top two sketches were done during our beach breaks we had once a day where we just walked to the beach and had 45 minutes to fill up a page. The bottom two are of vertebrae using two different shading techniques that we were working on. The final piece I did of the vertebrae was with pen and ink, which was very permanent and scary to do. The instructor, John Megahan (Google his work) was just awesome, and with a class of nine people, we got tons of individual attention. I feel like I improved so drastically in those sixteen hours of class. If you made it this far, congratulations, you just finished my longest post pretty much ever. 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Wildflower Festival


Today was the Wildflower Festival, which was held at Mt. Pisgah Arboretum. It rained most of the day, but that's Eugene for you! And I had promised Paul the day before that I would go no matter what, so we went. There was a main room with hundreds of examples of native wildflowers. There were craft stalls, food carts, and a stage where local folk bands played. And since it was held at Mt. Pisgah, we got to go hiking around the mountain as well. This cat skull was one of many skulls my friend Sam found on a bike ride recently, and I couldn't help but snap a picture when I was at her house. Cats have the cutest skulls! 


At all of these kinds of events, the Wildflower Festival, the Mushroom Festival, and home and garden conventions, Mountain Rose Herbs always has a booth set up. Although they ship internationally, they're a local company that sells dried herbs, essential oils, tea, and stuff like that. I've actually bought some great stuff from them before (grapeseed oil, tamanu oil, and lemongrass essential oil) to make my own natural moisturizer, which has completely cleared my skin. So I love their products, but the greatest part about them is when they show up at these events, they don't sell anything, they just give things away! Pens, pencils, stickers, herbs, just about everything! One time they gave me a whole cup of dried lavender that I used to make ice cream. Today they were giving away tote bags! For free! 



This was a short little post, but I really liked some of the pictures I got today, and I love blogging about Eugene things. And the Wildflower Festival is such a Eugene thing. It was a great way to spend a few hours. Now I'll get back to watching Buffy. I just finished season 5. If anyone wants to gush about Spike with me, hit me up.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Changes


I'll start off this post with the obvious. I changed my blog design! It took several hours and one yoga break, but I'm happy with the results. I have zero knowledge of computers or programming or anything. I just clicked buttons and used my rusty photo editing skills until it looked semi-decent. So that's one change!


The next change is that Paul turned 22 last week. We had a low-key dinner at a brewery with friends and it was really great. I made the fluffiest vanilla cupcakes, and that was a pretty amazing feat for me because my cupcakes always turn out so dense and muffin like, which is fine, but these tasted like they were from a bakery, if I do say so myself. I also whipped out the ice cream machine and made smoked salted chocolate caramel ice cream, which turned out just as intense as it sounds. Wow. The main point is that Paul is the greatest and only deserves the yummiest things for his birthday.


Another change is what's happening on campus right now. For years the university has wanted to update our maze like, kind of endearing, very 1970's student union building. It's gone to a student vote several times before and failed, but it recently passed, so they're rebuilding parts of it. The university has encouraged graffiti all over the bits that are going to be torn down first. It's shocked me a little that UO is allowing this (because Phil Knight the university kind of obnoxiously prides itself on being fancy and pristine) but I love it.

   
More changes: Paul graduates soon, I've stopped stress baking, the lack of stress baking has made my jeans fit a lot better, it's been pretty warm recently, I've been doing lots of yoga, I've taken bike rides for fun and not just to get somewhere, and lastly I've really improved my work ethic when it comes to the transcription work that I do from home and had been slacking on for months. I also plan on blogging a lot more in the near future. I've got some adventures in mind.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Spring Things


Spring has sprung. Nothing big or crazy has happened lately, but there have been lots of little things, and I have pictures of some of those moments. First off, my friend Sam got some baby chickens and they are so cute. Also, shout out to Sam for being an awesome lady and an awesome friend. 


Next up, I got a haircut. Also, Falling Sky turned two years old. We live across the street from this gastropub and they're pretty awesome neighbors. Good beer, good food, and the entire waitstaff is so nice. Also I won this UO shirt at trivia night on campus. It's pretty much the only piece of school spirit that I own. I'm not one for school spirit really (I'm fairly critical of the sports culture that goes on here at UO) but I'm all for free clothing and I'm all for trivia. My trivia team wins every time (well, we got second once because we lost the tie break for first) and it's something I look forward to every month.        


Paul and I went snowshoe camping for part of our spring break. It was 50% good and 50% horrible. The hike to the camp site was beautiful and sunny. We had a fire, we ate soup and trail mix, I read a book, I got to use an ax to try and chop some wood, and we were surrounded by some pretty extreme natural beauty. But we were in a three walled open shelter. It was below freezing. I strained my hip flexor muscle snowshoeing, so the two hour hike back to the car the next day was excruciating, and I woke up in the middle of the night crying hysterically and inconsolably that a Ted Bundy-esque serial killer was going to kill us. I think I also had a fever. It was an interesting start to spring break.

  
It was beautiful though. And the snowshoeing itself provided a hardcore workout. I was under the impression it was relaxing. Snowshoeing was not relaxing. Snowshoeing was sweaty. But at least I got to feel like I was on spring break and wear a tanktop for about five minutes when we got to the shelter before reality set in. Also, check out my awesome snow bib Paul got me for my birthday. I was so excited to have an opportunity to wear it. 


This was a bit of a random post, so I'll conclude with some random tidbits of the last month. 

1. Joey: what an interesting beast she's turning out to be. She's affectionate, feisty, moody, and a total drama queen. One of her favorite things to do is follow me whenever I get up, bite my ankle, and then throw herself on the ground in front of me, purring. In these pictures, she's preparing to attack the camera. You can see her power stance, with the one paw in the air. 

2. One of my favorite memories of March: it was a sunny day and we had nothing to do so Paul and I got some burritos to go from a kind of sketchy 24 hour Mexican food place, grabbed a blanket, and had a picnic at the park a few blocks away. It was fast and cheap date, and right up my alley. 

3. Paul and I brewed a new beer, and I've designed its label. I'll have to do a whole blog post about the beer making/bottling/labeling process because it's super rewarding. The labeling is the most fun for me. In another life I would be a graphic designer/product designer. On the topic of design, I'm also working on a few biological illustration pieces to be sold at auction at the American Association of Physical Anthropologists conference in Calgary in a few weeks. So that's pretty exciting. I'm going to make myself some business cards. Maybe a career in design isn't so far off after all.  

4. I made my own moisturizer out of essential oils and I've become really nerdy about natural DIY skincare. I'm kind of a hippie, although that's really not new. 

5. I'm a TV addict, which is also nothing new. Lately I've been loving The X-Files, Twin Peaks, and Hannibal. And I wonder why I woke up crying about serial killers when sleeping in the woods?   

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Twenty Two


Yesterday I turned 22 years old. My birthday kind of snuck up on me! But it happened, and it was low key, and it was just right. I spent most of the day in the kitchen. I'm very cheap so I used what I had on hand and I baked for myself instead of buying something at the store. I made chocolate cinnamon beer cake with peanut butter buttercream, and then I made blueberry goat cheese ice cream. I was going for an " adult peanut butter and jelly sandwich" theme. 


When Paul got home in the afternoon, he took me out for an early Thai dinner. There was a kid in the booth next to us who got an ice cream scoop with a candle in it, and I made Paul ask the waiter if free birthday ice cream was just for kids. It wasn't, and I also received an ice cream scoop. It was taro root ice cream, and it was fantastic. Then later in the evening, some friends came over and ate the treats and played Apples to Apples. All in all, pretty mellow. But I'm pretty mellow. But I saw my friends, I ate lots of ice cream, I got to wear my new dress, and I'm another year older, so that's pretty good in my book.