Summer is ending

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This Summer has been chalk-full of travel complete with discoveries and observations. Some pithy and others not so much, but notable none the less.

Portland, OR
♦  I have awesome friends. I just wish they lived closer, and I could seem them way more often than I do.

♦  Don’t ever take mushrooms and then walk down a busy street. Get to your location where you plane to settle for your trip and then take them. Tripping balls in a busy public space; no matter how inconspicuous you think you’re being, I guarantee that you’re not. Chain smoking cigarettes while bug-eyed continuously exclaiming: I just need to get to the forest while laughing uncontrollably, and going into “ninja mode” when an ambulance throws on their siren as they speed by is a sure giveaway that something is amiss.

♦  The hiking opportunities in the Portland area, and I’m sure the whole state of Oregon, are beyond awesome.

hike

New Orleans, LA
♦  The live music is amazing.

♦  Frenchman Street is a way more happening hangout than Bourbon Street.

Frenchman

♦  Sometimes, a hug is just a hug, and giving one to someone who needs it is a great way to brighten your and someone else’s day.

♦  The shot girls on Bourbon Street are grabby and taking a Christian married man to a bar with said shot girls is not the best idea.

shots

♦  Plan on getting wasted. No matter how much I told myself I was going to remain sober or turn in early, the fact remains that I was out until 3 in the morning and drunk every night while I was there. Every. Single. Night.

oldbar

Clarkston, WA (Family Reunion)
♦  Road trips that last longer than 12 hours are never a good thing. NEVER.

♦  Sometimes, the best companions at family reunions is the doge. I spent most of my time out with the doge playing fetch and wouldn’t have it any other way.

Hemmy

♦  Nothing, and I mean nothing is more awkward than getting hit on and groped by your cousin. There was full-on junk grabbing involved; kind of takes the crying game to a whole new level. To be fair, she was the drunkest girl at the party. She’s always the drunkest girl at the party.

♦  Handle flirting cousins with care. If you reject them too harshly, they may announce to your whole family they know a secret about you and force you to come out.

♦  Being outted to your family, while awkward as fuck, may not necessarily be a bad thing. Some family members definitely have issues with it, but on the other hand, it has brought me closer than ever with others. Those that I grew up with, but have lost touch with over the years.

♦  Clarkston/Lewiston, while a beautiful little pocket of Hells Canyon, is hot as fuck in July. There were several fires in the area and running through the smoky haze was probably not the best idea I’ve had.

Clarkston

 New York City, New York
♦  Times Square is a hot sticky mess.

TimeSquareF

♦  Wear proper clothing in the Summer, especially for the Subway tunnels. Otherwise, YOU’LL end up a hot sticky mess…

Sticky

♦  Everyone always says not to wander off on your own in the city, but exploring the city on my own during safe daylight hours is both rewarding and whimsical.

Flatirin

♦  The Ground Zero memorial is incredibly sobering and moving. Be prepared to feel the feels just by visiting the site.

911

♦  Idina Menzel is absolutely delightful. James Snyder is dreamy.

Idina      Dreamy

♦  People will flirt with you and call you sexy to get what they want. It’s so very flattering at first, but ultimately crushing to the ego when you realize they are using blandishment as a means to an end.

♦  Always, ALWAYS double check that you have set the alarm clock for the right time on your cell phone. Especially if you have an important presentation to give.

I took a small nap after lunch and almost missed my afternoon panel presentation. I was perplexed, because I could have sworn I had set my alarm to wake me up at 1:45. I woke up at 1:55 and barely made it.

At 2:45, amidst the presentation, I startlingly realized why my alarm did not wake me up. My alarm is set to play the song “Fancy”. There were many chuckles in the room, and my face was redder than it’s ever been. I may have done a little dance to try and play it off. There was a slow clap involved.

♦  When traveling to Ellis Island by ferry, they truly are trying to create the immigration experience. We never made it; the person I was traveling with got dehydrated, sick, and came to the brink of passing out. We had to be escorted out of the line after an hour wait.

♦  Although, obsolete, phone booths are still very prevalent in New York. They don’t work, but come in handy for those getting their marijuana edible treats organized to sell on the streets.

Phone

So, it’s been a pretty amazing Summer with its ups and downs, but one that I am sad to see come to an end. School starts in a couple of weeks, and I’m not nearly as prepared for it as I should be. However, one thing the start of the school year is sure to be a sign of; the end of my life and free time for a few months. As bitter as I sound, I do enjoy my job and am looking forward to the return of the students.

Hiking Adventures with Underground Dude and Minnesota Gal

I enjoy hiking. I really do. Some might even call me a pretty earthy kind of dude. However, I have learned recently that preparation is key to a successful hiking trip. O.K. who am I kidding, my last hiking trip was absolutely delightful, but for an entirely different set of reasons than the usual giddiness that hiking brings out in me.

Words cannot even describe how delightful it was to have a former teammate from the college years and one of my closest friends find her way out west. We decided to go exploring one day, and I knew of a place that was rumored to have a spectacular view of the city, but had never actually been.

Lovely, what a delightful way to spend an afternoon; an afternoon spent driving up a mountain road and casually pulling over to check out the scenic views as we make our way to the top.

We should have probably been a bit more thorough with our research…

We make our way to the top end of the mountain road, and notice there is a fee to get into this so called mountain park…peculiar.

We gladly pay, very proud of ourselves, because the view will so be worth it. We park. We then step out of the vehicle…wait a minute…there is still clearly a lot of mountain ahead of us, and there is no view at all…

We notice a few trails and realize we were given a handy dandy trail guide by the gatekeeper to the park after we paid our fee. We open it up and the first thing we notice is:

“Easy Trail-1 1/2-3 hours”
MG: Oofta! (from Minnesota)
UD: That’s the easy trail eh? (likes to pretend he’s from Canada)
MG: I enjoy hiking…when I know I am going to be hiking. I guess we can try it out and see how far we make it. 
UD: I’m wearing dress shoes…
MG: I have these stylish sandals (holds foot out daintily admiring her sandals for their cuteness), but I should probably go with my flats. She proceeds to pull out a pair of slip on flimsy yet flowery flats from her purse and changes shoes.
As we make our way up the trail, there are others coming down the trail with the look and smell of victory. They clearly had made it to the top. A woman who was perspiring profusely was donning a hefty pack loaded with bottles of water on each side and sporting some pretty sturdy hiking boots, which totally clashed with the rest of her ensemblejust sayin. Her companion was a male utilizing two metal walking sticks that resembled ski-poles to which I thought to myself: how embarrassed was he when he got to the top and discovered there was no snow to be found? These folks were hardcore and the looks they gave us…oh the looks that we got! I am fairly certain I heard the ski-pole man scoff “noobs” as he passed by us on the trail. 
We were definitely the odd couple on the mountain that day:
  • A dude in a fashionable pair of jeans (strictly aesthetic rather than practical) and dress shoes. 
  • A Minnesota gal delicately trying to find her footing as we navigate the trail. 
  • No water whatsoever…

About 5 minutes up the trail:

UD: OMG! OMG! STOP! STOP!
MG: What!? What is it?
UD: SNAKE! HUGE SNAKE! OMG SNAKE!
The snake proceeds to slither off the trail as Minnesota Gal glimpses the tail of the vile creature. 
MG: Ohhh my! My ankles are not protected; maybe we should head back. 
UD: I am really wishing I had one of those ski-poles right about now. I bet they make awesome weapons. 
So, we didn’t make it to the top of the mountain, but it was a hiking trip of awesomeness I will never forget. As soon as we got back in the car hilarity ensued and we had ourselves a good laugh. And hey, the trip wasn’t totally wasted either; there were some turnouts on the mountain road from time to time for the “noobs” to take pictures.