Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Wickedly Awesome Long Weekend

In an effort to continue ticking things off my birthday list (wow do I have a long way to go still!) we started off the long weekend seeing Wicked here in Portland Thursday 8/20/15.  This was the 4th time I'd seen it (San Diego, LA and previously in Portland).  It is such an amazing show.  My mom was in town to see it, my Aunt Tami came down from Seattle, my sister-in-law Sarah and my other brother's girlfriend Holly were all set to see it.  The festivities technically started earlier in the day when we all got pedicures and then went to dinner near the theatre.

The next morning (early) I boarded a flight to Las Vegas to meet my lovely friends Melissa and Kristi (Utah and Tennessee respectively) for a very brief girls' weekend.  It was HOT!  I've become quite sissified to heat up here in the NW.  We had a great time as always and caught up on life.  It's amazing how you can just pick up like you just saw each other still.  I love that there's not a lot of reminiscing, but now just chatter about current stuff like we actually live near each other and hang out all the time.  Our yearly visits are quite fun and I cannot wait for the next one.  Just not Vegas.  We saw the Cirque d' Soleil show - Michael Jackson "One".  It was weird!  It was incredible the odd talent some of these people have but I wasn't expecting the show that was put on. Then we wandered the strip, hung out by the pool and then it was time to leave already.  Good friends are the best!

Monday, March 30, 2015

I miss paper

Remember back in the day in college when you were handed a syllabus and you followed along as they read it to you on your first day of class?  Where did those days go?

Day 1 of back to school.  Bio 112 (Cell Biology for Health Occupations) we were given a PDF of a syllabus that we have to log into a website to get.  We have to go to a different website to submit home work assignments through the manufacturer of our book.  I'm taking Ethics 205 class also and I have to log into yet another website for that because it is entirely an online class.  I just miss paper.

So far I'm really enjoying the discussion online in my Ethics class about a video that we had to watch and introduce ourselves and give our thoughts on the video.  Biology, the teacher is funny.  So far the only thing I can remember is that he talked about Charles Darwin taking a poop on the boat that he journeyed on to the Gallapagos.  That was kind of "riffing" i'm sure - and completely random.  2 hours of lecture is pretty rough two nights in a row followed by a 3rd night in a row of a 3 hour lab.  I don't think I went to this much class in the whole of my time in Utah.  Hoping for a great semester!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Roo's last swimming class

Roo's classes were supposed to start the weekend of my birthday, but as usual I was running late and then hit the typical Portland traffic.  One of the bridges was shut down.  Since I never watch the news - I have no idea what's going on in my neighborhood.  Unfortunately, we missed class 1.  So - today was our last class from the Groupon.  He did so well!  He was much more comfortable, much more quickly.  Worked on turning in the water and he swam most of the class without any assistance.  Even when he had to shake water from his face and realize he still had to keep swimming while he did it.  GOOD JOB ROO!

Roo takes swimming lessons (First class)

Those of you that know me, know that I am addicted to Groupon.  If there is something on there that seems like it would be interesting, or hilarious, I'm going to buy it.  I just am.  So when the Groupon for $60 for three swimming classes for my dog came up - it was a no-brainer.  Yes I'm aware that dogs are natural swimmers, but if you saw his face every time I kick him out to potty in the rain in the backyard, or he has to get in the bath, you would know that this little guy may need a little coaxing.  He may never love the water, but at least now - I can take him to the river in the summers and he'll know what to do.

This is the video of his first swim.  His instructor, Jennifer (@Dog Gone Swimming) says that the splashing is totally normal because they're trying to figure out how not to sink.

 After only a few short tries - he was swimming!!!  Smooth and semi-calm!  It was a very proud moment.  Next week should be even better!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

38 things to do while 38....

My good friend Samantha had a tradition that I loved.  Each year, for the number of years old she was, she would compile a list of that many things she wanted to do in the upcoming year.  Some were big...some were not so big.  All in fun, and a way to celebrate LIFE.  On the eve of my 38th is my list (in no particular order):
1.  Learn to play the fiddle
2.  Go back to school (Finished 03/30/15)
3.  Take a passport kind of trip
4.  Participate in a 5K
5.  See AT LEAST 5 concerts
     a.  Michael Jackson - ONE
6.  Take Trent snowboarding
7.  Visit friends (US Travel) (Finished 08/23/15 - VEGAS! w/ MLH & KG)
8.  Besides Mortgage, be debt free (Finished 02/28/15)
9.  Read 8 books
     a. Divergent  (Finished 02/01/15)
     b.Insurgent (Finished 02/07/15)
     c. Allegiant (Finished 02/14/15)
     d. Darkfever (Finished 02/15/15)
     e. The Rosie Project (Finished 08/02/15)
     f. Go Set A Watchman (Finished 08/09/15)
     g. Eenie Meenie (Finished 08/23/15)
10.  Sing karaoke in public
11.  Go blonde for summer (or highlights)
12.  Go snowshoeing
13.  Ride my bike to work
14.  Have a garage sale
15.  Climb Multnomah Falls
16.  Bridge Pedal Participant
17.  See a Timbers Game Completed 05/02/15
18.  See a Baseball Game (Mariners?  I guess if I have to.  Or minor local league)
19.  Take Roo to the beach
20.  Learn to cook a new difficult dish
21.  Take a glass blowing class
22.  Take a cooking class
23.  Try writing a children's book
24.  Build a piece of furniture
25.  Turn the hall closet into a pantry.
26.  Make art for the house
27.  Hang said art in the house.
28.  Ride a roller coaster
29.  Visit a National Park
30.  See a Broadway show (could be off-Broadway) (Wicked! Finished 08/20/15)
31.  Revive my blog  Completed 01/14/15
32.  Go to Victoria, BC for the weekend
33.  Road trip with the Harker ladies to Hobby Lobby in WA (Finished 07/18/15)
34.  Attend the "becoming a foster parent" class.
35.  Sleep in a teepee
36.  Make a jewelry holder/organizer
37.  Join a softball league
38.  Learn to make bath bombs for gifts.

I will update this post as I complete things.
-Jamie xoxox

Monday, December 3, 2012

Dominican Republic - Day 2 & 3

Day 2: was a rest day, of lazing by the ocean...followed by lazing by the pool.  The swim up bar was a pretty great hit and we met some really nice friends to hang out with.

Day 3:
We signed up before we left on our trip for some tours of the city.  Today was the City Tour, which included stops at:  Brugal Rum factory tour, an Amber and Larima jewelry store, an Amber museum, "Central Park", a Cathedral, a Fortress and a cable car to the top of a mountain.

The first stop was the Brugal Rum Factory. This was basically just a factory where there were some people working and we just kind of watched them work.  It was a weird stop.  However, we did get to buy items at the store on site which was super cheap and a little taste testing (aka shots of rum) at 9am never hurt anyone right?  It was funny, because our tour was mostly with Canadians.  The guy at Brugal who gave the tour gave it in French.  I had no idea what he was saying, but he was seriously very good looking.  Funny thing, a few nights later when I went off resort with some new friends, I saw this same guy at a bar in the city.  Small world...even in the Dominican Republic.

The Amber Museum was interesting, but again a weird stop.  About 30% of the film Jurassic Park was filmed in the Dominican Republic.  This museum made the Amber with the mosquito in it for the film, so the Director let them use the logo for the movie in their logo for the company.

 The fortress was our next stop.  On the weekend, our tour driver explained, this is where everyone goes to hang out.  It seemed like a weird place to hang out, but there was a lot of open space, and it was right on the ocean.  It seemed so weird that this place had the history of building a fortress to stop invaders from attacking their country such a long time ago.  For as much as I've never been interested in history, this was actually kind of cool.

 What's funny about this picture, was my last night in the DR was a Saturday and we ended up hanging out right on the circle of this statue.  My trip started and ended with this guy on a horse.

At every stop we made there was always people trying to sell things.  This woman had this burro that she would have you pay to get your picture taken with it.  When one group came she would tote out the burro, and then when we went away, she took the burro away from the entrance.  There were people selling art and all sorts of random things.

 As we ventured on, the HUGE tour bus that we were on was having trouble navigating the narrow city streets.  The driver and guide let us out in "Central Park" while they figured out how to get the bus around this turn.  I loved this place.  There was literally nothing there but the buildings and colours of the buildings was so amazing.  I loved being off resort to see the real side of the Dominican Republic.  It was really cool.

 To kill a little more time, the tour driver had the priest open up the Catedral for us to tour through.  This place was amazing!  The stained glass windows and high arched ceilings.  It was overwhelming to think that people went to church here.  Interesting fact about Dominican Republic.  Every town/neighborhood has 2 things:  a cathedral/church and a baseball field. 

 Finally our bus was free and we got on headed to the Cable Car.  This was the part I was looking forward to.  If you ever find yourself in Puerta Plata, Dominican Republic - do not take this whole tour.  Pay your cab driver from the airport to drop you off and wait for you (trust me, they'll wait for you) to take you to the Cable Car.  We boarded this huge car that took us straight up Mount Isabel. 

At the top of the Mountain, was the replication of the Christ Statue in Rio de Janero, Brazil.  It was so peaceful up there.  I was sad it was so foggy, because it really was a gorgeous statue.  This statue looks over the city and protects it.  There is something very calming about knowing that. 

 The whole time we walked around up there, the Ben Harper song "Blessed to Be a Witness" was running through my mind. 

"Blessed To Be A Witness"

Corcovado parted the sky
And through the darkness
On us he shined
Crucified in stone
Still his blood is my own
Glory behold all my eyes have seen
Have seen

I am blessed
I am blessed
I am blessed
I am blessed
I am blessed to be a witness

Some have flown away
And can't be with us here today
Like the hills of my home
Some have crumbled and now are gone
Gather around for today won't come again
Won't come again

I am blessed
I am blessed
I am blessed
I am blessed
I am blessed
I am blessed
I am blessed to be a witness

So much sorrow and pain
Still I will not live in vain
Like good questions never asked
Is wisdom wasted on the past
Only by the grace of God go I
Go I

I am blessed
I am blessed
I am blessed
I am blessed
I am blessed
I am blessed
I am blessed to be a witness

The song in the beginning talks about the statue in Rio actually - and this was pretty darn close to the same thing.  Maybe my next trip will be to see the real thing...

Then we headed back to the resort, where we spent the day enjoying some sunshine and more pool/ocean time.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Dominican Republic - Day 1

After a 6 hour flight from Portland to JFK, NY and a 3.5 hour flight from JFK to Puerta Plata we finally arrived in the Dominican Republic.  It was seriously so humid there.  The airport was so small.  There was a band playing to greet us - which was completely cool.  The military guards were all carrying some seriously heavy machinery.  We paid our $20 US to get into the country, got our passports stamped and were out the door to hail a cab.  All the "cabs" there were seriously people's normal cars.  It was so weird.  It was cool that everything was in Spanish too.  Our driver did not speak a lot of English, but he was very nice.  The driving is absolutely INSANE there.  Pretty much no rules.  People passing on any side of you.  Everyone on motor scooters weaving in and out of traffic.  It was crazy to see people 3 deep on a tiny motor scooter.  We even saw a mom braiding her daughter's hair while they were driven around.  People with tiny babies on there.  It was such a different environment.  I was in love with it all from the second that we landed.

We arrived at our resort about 20 minutes from the airport.  After a million phone calls back to the US and a million attempts to locate our reservation, they finally got us booked in.  It was a little scary for a second though that we would have nowhere to stay.  Our room was fine.  Nothing fancy.  At least it had A/C, although in D.R. they lose power daily anywhere from 30mins-sometimes 6 hours.  Mostly so they can control the power usage.  I can't even imagine.  We needed some food, but nowhere was open when we finally arrived for lunch, so we finally found this place and had our first, of many, plates of arroz y frijoles (rice & beans).  I've never been a huge fan of rice, or beans for that matter.  Somehow in this place I loved them.  No lie, I ended up eating them for practically every meal.  The other food was pretty suspect, so I was limited on what I was willing to risk.  The resort was of course time-share so they drove us around the resort and made us the pitch.  Seriously it actually sounded quite good and if I had an extra $10k in my pocket I would've purchased.  Driving around we got to see more of the resort.  A storm was coming in so it wasn't that clear out in the skies, but it was still BEAUTIFUL!


I think I could've stayed there forever!