Tag: travel

so this happened…

…I got engaged!


Last Wednesday, I flew down to LA to surprise Alicia with a visit.  I flew in during the day while she was at work and was at the apartment before she got home from work.  So when she came into the bedroom and I was there sitting on the bed…I got a nice scream out of her.  She was pretty excited though (once she started breathing again).

As for the engagement, I hadn’t really told anyone that I was thinking about doing it before the trip.  Partially because it was going to be a gut feeling kind of thing.  Do I do it now, do I wait until she’s moved up here to Portland or I have a job, those kind of thoughts.

Anyway, we had met up with one of my friends in downtown LA on Thursday and after we parted ways with my friend decided to take the new(ish) Expo Line to Culver City.  It was then when it popped into my head where/when to do it.  When we got to the USC stop, I said “Hey, lets get off here.” (at this point she is a little suspicious)  Then we walked towards where we had our first kiss (and she’s a lot more suspicious as we get closer).  When we got there, we kissed a couple times and I leaned in and whispered the question in her ear…and she said yes (phew!).

Afterwards, we walked back to the Expo Line and took it to Culver City as planned (going with the original idea to get some dessert).  In the end, we just walked around downtown Culver City and didn’t get dessert.

So yeah…that’s my big news of late.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2012/so-this-happened/


Well summer is in full force in Los Angeles.  So far it hasn’t been too hot…at least for too long (there have been a few days).  After last year’s relatively mild summer, I’ve been expecting a super warm summer.

I have nonetheless still been in a bit of a funk lately.  LA is a big place, but I feel quite alone here (while at the same time feeling like I’m never alone).  My friends here don’t live within an easy walk/bike/bus/train ride.  I can’t drive (at least for a few more weeks).  One of my friends is moving away (back to the NW…which makes me a little jealous).  One is going to be gone most of Aug…and then Sep and Oct as well.

It hasn’t been all bad though.  A couple months ago a new craft beer bar opened up a few blocks from the apartment.  Beer Belly.  I’ve enjoyed getting to know the owners and staff there…perhaps a little too much last month. 😉

I started a Food Preservation Externship a few weeks ago at the Hollywood Farmer’s Kitchen.  So far we’ve done three different types of jam (1975 Strawberry – a varietal that is supposed to taste like strawberries did before they became an industrialized product, Peach, & Plum Ginger), Pickled Leeks, & Dehydrated Leeks (to later grind into leek powder).  I’ll have a little break for the next couple weeks due to an event next week and my trip to San Fran (more on that later) the week after that.  By that time, we should be in full force of tomato season and canning sauces and making ketchups.  I’m excited to be able to gain some knowledge and practice in food preservation (something I wish I would have learned more of from my grandpa when I was living his house).

I’ve got a couple of small vacations coming up.  I’m going up to the Bay Area for a long weekend in early August.  I’m taking the train up there instead of flying.  Its more relaxing and I don’t have to worry about bringing anything back I can’t get through airport security.  I’m going to the Timber’s match against the San Jose Earthquakes.  Other than that, I plan on just walking around San Fran (and Berkeley) a whole bunch.

I also have a trip to NYC coming up in early September for my friend Mike’s wedding.  It’ll be my second trip to NYC and it’ll be a short trip, but I’m looking forward to seeing a little more of NYC as well.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2011/summertime/


My first overseas trip has finally happened.  I finally made it to Paris, after wanting to go for at least 12 years.  Because my current job is still through a temp agency, which means no vacation days, I was only able to schedule a long weekend.  I left on Wednesday afternoon from LAX, arriving Thursday morning in Paris.  Here is a picture from the plane as we crossed over the English Channel into France:

After arriving at the airport, I took the train into Paris and headed to my hotel (in the 13th) to check in.  After a shower, I ended up walking up to where Alicia’s class was near the Bastille.  When then walked around a little more, checking out Notre Dame Cathedral and the Shakespeare & Co Bookstore.  For dinner, we went to Le Zimmer, a place recommended by my Irish friend Lynda, for their French Onion soup(click for picture).  Since I was recovering from the long flight, we decided to take things easy the rest of the night so I could be rested for Friday.Friday, we took the metro out to Versailles.  We had brought some stuff along to have a picnic out in the gardens.  The size of the gardens is kind of amazing, however it still being winter, most of the statues were covered up.  Luckily the clouds had decided to break, and we had nice blue skies to enjoy our lunch under.  In the end, I decided that I’d rather spend 12 euros going up to the top of the Eiffel Tower than to go inside the chateau, so we ended up heading back to Paris not long after eating lunch.  We headed to the Eiffel Tower and took the elevator’s up to the top.  It was pretty cool way to get a perspective of Paris.  That evening, we ended up heading to the Montmartre area, planning on going to a fondue place that serves wine in baby bottles.  However, when we got there, there was a decent wait, so we decided to walk around and find somewhere else to eat.

Alica looking for her apt from the Eiffel Tower

Saturday, after breakfast (oh have I forgotten to mention the amazing Pain au Chocolat and Baguettes yet?), we headed to the Place Palais Royal to meet my friend Armelle, whom I met working in Sun Valley, ID the summer between my Freshman and Sophmore years of college.  We walked around the 1st, a little bit before heading to a cooking class.  There we made lemongrass chicken, with fingerling potatoes (cooked with garlic and lime juice) and a mango tart w/ passionfruit caramel.  After the class, we walked around some more before heading to Armelle’s apt in the 15th for some homemade crepes.

Sunday, Alicia and I went to church at the American Cathedral and then went to the Louvre.  I was able to see the Mona Lisa in person (though a little disapointed that you can’t get within 5-10 feet of it).  I think the ceilings and architecture of the Louvre were more interesting than a lot of the art inside, but then we did just do a quick trip through the museum.  For dinner, we went to a restaurant on a medival street in the Latin Quarter.  It had a 15 euro prix fixe menu.  For a starter, I chose escargot, as I figured where else better to try it than in Paris.

Monday, I packed my suitcase and we dropped it off at Alicia’s apt and explored her neighborhood (the 15th) for awhile, until I had to head out to the airport.  I really liked Paris a lot.  Its a big city, with a small city feel, at least in many of the neighborhoods.  The bread was amazing and inexpensive.  Same with the cheese.  I still don’t know if I had a favorite part though (which is the question everyone asks).  I guess I’d have to say the food (and of that the bread) if I had to pick one thing.  Restaurants are pretty expensive though, trying to eat fairly frugally, I still spent just under 50 euros for each dinner out (for 2 including wine).

More pics here

Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2009/paris/

Je voyage à Paris

Tonight, I purchased a plane ticket to Paris.  It will be my first trip outside of North America (I’ve been to British Columbia, Canada).  I’m pretty excited.

I’m finally actually doing it.  I’m off to see the world (well Paris at least)!

Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2009/je-voyage-a-paris/

Sketch 47

The biggest thing I did this past weekend was my trip to Phoenix.  Besides dinner at Pizzeria Bianco, it was a pretty low key visit.  I did go to church with my friend and her family on Sunday morning.  It was a non-denominational style church (though technically they have a denomination of some sort apparently).  The guy giving the sermon referenced the fast spreading coffee chain “Dutch Brothers” from Oregon.  He had gone there while in Oregon for a funeral.  He used the enthusiasm of the employees he encountered at Dutch Brothers as a good example of how we could be a “REP” for Jesus.  I found it a little amusing, because a bunch of my friends referred to the Dutch Brothers employees as “coffee tweakers” because they always seemed to be way hopped up on caffeine.  Other than that, I found the service mainly fluff, with little substance.  Basically, Jesus is cool and we are cool cuz we love Jesus.

Last night, a friend and I went and saw Spring Awakening at the Ahmanson Theatre here in LA.  It was the big musical winner at the 2007 Tony awards.  From wikipedia: “The musical is based on the controversial 1891 German play of the same title by Frank Wedekind. Set in late-nineteenth century Germany, it concerns teenagers who are discovering the inner and outer tumult of sexuality. The original play was banned in Germany due to its portrayal of masturbation, abortion, rape and suicide.”  I thought the musical was enjoyable, and it was nice to dress up and see a show.

I’m still not really sure what I’ll be doing for Thanksgiving.  Perhaps a smallish dinner at home with a friend or two.  Perhaps nothing.  Who knows.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2008/sketch-47/

Sketch 11

I find myself often overwhelmed and lost living in a city the size of Los Angeles.  So when a friend offered a chance to not only get out of Los Angeles for a couple days, but to get out of the state, I jumped on it.  My friend was trying to convince me that Phoenix is a cool place, because I had made fun of it in the past.  Mainly the thing I don’t like about Phoenix is the sprawl of urban mess, covering way more ground than is needed (and can be supported by natural water sources in the area).  Because we were flying on a seat available basis, we quickly found out that our chances of getting out of LAX were slim to none, however if we drove down to Long Beach, we’d have better luck.  So braving the Friday evening rush hour traffic, we set off for Long Beach in our quest for seats on a plane.

With plenty of time to spare, we managed to get through the rigorous security at Long Beach, and get on the plane.

On Saturday we went for a 5.8 mile hike on the Go John Trail outside of Cave Creek, AZ.  A relatively short drive from Phoenix, away from most of the sprawl that makes up the Phoenix Metro Area.

The wildflowers were in full force and it was just nice to actually get out into nature for a change.  There are more pictures here.Sunday night was the monthly dinner group I’m a part of.  I think that all nine of us ended up showing up this week.  It was a great evening of food, wine, laughing, and discussion.  I made a Guinness Cheesecake for dessert.  It was a great time for sure.

It’s spring break here, so the majority of the students are gone, and I can mainly work from home this week.  I’ve got a lot of personal projects to work on, as well as a couple work projects.  I’m hoping I can make some headway on the personal projects this week.  Good news is that I’ve got my resume updated, so now its just sending it out for jobs and what not.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2008/sketch-11/


I had a great time visiting NYC with my friend Elizabeth.  We managed to get in the majority of things we wanted to do (which was mainly visit friends).  I’ll work on trying to update with a more inspired post later…but for now, I’ll just give you a link to the pictures.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2007/nyc/

the last day of winter

After only a short hour and a half on the phone yesterday, I’ve reworked my flight schedule to NYC in April (Delta changed our intinerary on Sunday).  We’ll be leaving PDX earlier, laying over in SLC for almost 4 hours, and arriving in Newark…instead of JFK.  But at least I will get into the NYC area in enough time to make it up to New Haven and check out Yale Divinity School.  In compensation for doubling our travel time (and the hour and a half I spent on the phone mainly on hold)…we are recieving passes to Delta’s Crown Room (which may not even arrive in time, because they have to get sent out via the corporate office).  They also offered us $50 travel vouchers, however as neither my friend or I plan to fly Delta anytime soon…they would pretty much be worthless (plus apparently you have to take them into a Delta ticket counter to even use them).

Now I must figure out how to get from Newark airport to New Haven.  Yummy.

My (old) roommate made it safely to Japan, where she is spending a week in Toyko for unpaid training in a shitty hotel before moving to a small city of 50k north of Toyko.

I rented a car and went to the coast with a friend on Sunday after we dropped the (old) roommate off at the airport for her flight to Japan.  While the weather decided not to fully cooperate, I still had a good time, got my feet sandy and wet, and felt refreshed after the trip.

This week will involve yet more interviews trying to fill the empty room in our apartment.  So far, I haven’t been that excited about the responses to my Craigslist ad.  

I’m excited for Spring.  I feel like this year spring and summer are going to be really good. 

Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2007/the-last-day-of-winter/

march on

Change is afoot.

One of my roommates is moving to Japan on Sunday.  I’m really excited for her, but I’m sad she’s leaving (and a little jealous).  This week is a series of goodbye gatherings though…its a little bittersweet.

I’ve applied for an internship in LA.  It would start near the end of August. If I get the internship, I’ll have to get my car fixed and insured again.  I’m anxious to find out what happens with the application.  I’m a little on the upper end of the age range for the internship and hope that doesn’t work against me.

I’m getting a little stir crazy here in town.  The last time I left town was for an afternoon in early February to drive down to Eugene to get a letter of recommendation for the internship application.  Sadly, It doesn’t look like I’ll get out of town until I head down to Southern California at the end of the month for a conference I’m staffing.  I am however looking forward to going to New York City in April for a long weekend. 

Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2007/march-on/