Saturday, September 24, 2005

I'm at Stanford now!!

The last few days in Oregon were a whirlwind...

The last Thurs. I was home (as in like 9 days ago), Mom and Mer & I first went to the Jacobson's farm for some organic produce, and then got our start on the Surveyor's Ridge trail. We took the half that we didn't take last time. On the way up, Mer found a "gut pile," probably from a bear. It was pretty disgusting. Merrie wanted to cut it open and see what the bear's last meal was. Luckily, she did not do so. The trail was beautiful -- we saw a little hill of rock that we thought was Shell Mt., but ended up not being it. At the top we saw a cross, and found a gravesite. Mer spotted lots of animal tracks -- from deer and elk to bear and cougar. It seemed like it was taking forever to find the end of the trail... we hiked on what looked like an old road, back on a trail (luckily the trail split right where the road started going uphill!), through clearings and through forest. Mom spotted some wild elderberry patches, and shrubs that we used to have back by the trail that led to the clothes lines. At long last, when we were starving and tired of walking, we spotted the trailhead that we started on last time. So we've done the whole trail now, piecemeal.

At home, we wanted something fast... so I tried making basically chicken scampi w/ kale and zucchini, since we had some white wine. Mom was in charge of getting the chicken in chunks, and I took care of the rest.

Friday Mer & I went to visit our dad. We got a fairly early start, got gas in Troutdale because it was like $2.60 something, and then drove for a long, long time. The hwy was beautiful -- lots of big trees and leafy ground cover. It was raining though along the hwy, and multiple construction sites meant getting stopped 3 times. Luckily, it was sunny in town. Anyway, it was great seeing Dad again, and seeing that he was doing well. Cute apartment, Margy seemed in good spirits, and the place where Dad works is right across the street. We chatted for a while, and then drove out to the coast. Kind of like what we used to do when we were little -- walking on the sand, exploring tidepools, and looking for agates and shells. Mer found an agate, but only partial sand dollars. The whole sand dollar is an elusive creature, apparently. We saw many a starfish and sea anemone... Mer was poking an anemone, and I said "I want that" (since we were going to watch Napoleon Dynamite that night, it was on our minds -- if you haven't seen it, that's what this woman says in a funny voice after seeing a tupperware collection with a free model ship thrown in. Hilarious). Anyway, Mer laughed and said she'd put that in her blog. But as you can see from her blog, she hasn't updated in weeks! So I had to pick up the slack. Sorry, Mer =)

We kept seeing these little tiny squid looking creatures on the sand... washed up. Dad thought they were little cuttlefish. Maybe a batch of eggs went awry... hard telling. The entire beach was practically deserted... and I loved that there were caves and a tunnel to another beach that you could only get to during low tide... and at which you could get stuck during high tide. Beautiful area, and a nice sunny day, with just a few clouds. Dad spotted a bunch of pelicans, which we watched diving into the waves. Afterward, driving, we saw a large deer cross our path. A black tail, I think Mer said.

For dinner we had pizza... and then we watched Napoleon Dynamite. I got sad about leaving everything all over again, and Dad and Margy were like "Stay with us!" Something about leaving MHC, leaving home, then leaving Madison & Andrew, and now leaving home again.... eek. But we eventually started the movie, which made me laugh. We were able to get me a toothbrush, and Mer & I popsicles, since the store across the street is open 24 hours. I hadn't really packed thinking that we'd stay overnight, but it ended up working out.

Sat. morning we got up early -- at 6:45 am -- and quickly got our stuff together. All I had clean was a sweater, so, I wore a sweater, which was fine in the morning, but gradually became too warm. Hugged and said our goodbyes, and then we were off... We JUST beat the construction, we saw them setting up as we cruised by. Yes!!

On the way home we stopped at Troutdale again for gas, and one of the attendants recognized us, so I explained that we'd been driving a lot! In Hood River we decided to visit Grammy, despite our being kind of unkempt. But it's always fun visiting Grammy, so she got us both feeling better. She was telling us about her days at boarding school when she was younger... and taking night classes while helping to keep the boarding house going... and leaving business school for a job in Hood River. She wants pictures of our "digs" so she can see where we're living -- so I must do that today, now that the apt. is basically together.

Anyway, back home we had lots of packing to do -- Mer more than me, since Mom had done lots of mine for me (thank God!) I made a quick dinner of pasta & "roasted pepper sauce," which was a rendition of a recipe I found on a pasta box. Turned out well, and then I rushed off to pick blackberries along the ditch before the last light faded. I picked as many as I could easily get to, called Dad since he wanted to know how I was doing, and then hurried back in the dusk to meet up with Mer & Bosun.

We left for Corvalis early Sunday morning... not as early as we'd hoped to, but still a decent hour. We unloaded Mer's stuff, toured the co-op, which is SO MUCH NICER than Reed was! and went on some shopping expeditions (during which I found a few things too, including hangers, Dr. Bronner's peppermint soap, and a wicker hamper). We took another trip to Subway (funny since Mer & I had just eaten at a Subway on our way to Dad's on Friday), said our goodbyes, and rushed off to Jerry's in Myrtle Creek. The whole way I was going to be in the back of the truck now -- on the way to Corvallis I'd just driven w/ Mer in the Jeep. Anyway, we pulled into Jerry's around 7:30 or 8, talked, and then his daughter, Cassie, drove us to the nearest grocery store to pick up something fast for dinner... which for me meant a veggie burrito. And after dinner, we girls shared a pint of Ben & Jerry's... Just as an aside, Ben and Jerry's frozen yogurt is just as good as the ice cream, I don't know how they manage it. And Andrew and I had this chocolate frozen yogurt with brownie bites in it over the summer, and that was impressive, too. Makes you wonder why they don't make lower fat versions of more ice creams... Didn't one of the founders of Ben and Jerry's recently have like a heart attack or something? I remember two ice cream gurus had heart problems, as explained in Supersize Me, a found of Ben and Jerry's and a founder of Baskin-Robbins. Anyway, back to the narrative...

That night I slept quite peacefully on the couch, got up early, and we all headed out at what was a decent hour but not as early as I'd hoped to leave. We drove A LOT on Monday... took pitstops at a Pacific Crest Trail trailhead, at a market for ice cream, later for gas before hitting SF. Andrew gave us directions that worked well till I got us going like north instead of south on 101... but we made it into Palo Alto. Unfortunately, we didn't realize we'd need directions to the motel, too... who knew that El Camino Real passes through like 5 different towns? And that we'd see like 3 different Super 8's? Argh. We finally made it, with another grocery store dinner in arms...

Tues. morning we went to pick up my keys, and then wandered all over looking for Studio 1. Let me tell you this now: Studio 1 is impossible to find. The sign that says "Studios 1 & 2" really only points to #2. And Studio 1 is not marked. At all. No signs, nothing. So we finally found it, on foot, and as Mom and Tim went to get the truck and repark, I headed up to see my home for the year... I was very happy! More storage than I had anticipated, everything looked new and clean, and more spacious than I had imagined. Ahh.

So after getting my previously owned crap into the apt., it was time to buy more. Mom and I had lunch at Ikea and then shopped till we dropped... got lost in the rain on the way to Wal-Mart, got new directions from Andrew, made it to Wal-Mart, Trader Joe's, and Target... and then promptly got lost. I think this was another Becky thing, where I was like, I think we're going the wrong way, let's turn around, and then got us lost. Basically, we went the OPPOSITE way from campus, toward Mountain View... got quite lost, and to top things off, the traffic lights seemed out from the storm, all just flashing red, so everything was backed up and gridlocked. Eek! We FINALLY made it home around 8 pm... We decided on a nice dinner at the Olive Garden, which we all enjoyed.

The next day Mom and I made a similar route for last minute stuff and grocery shopping, only this time without getting lost. Another Ikea trip for lunch and a throw blanket and trash cans, Target and Wal-Mart for a TV & sheets & mattress pad, Trader Joe's for tons of food... then we got to the motel in time for a swim. Bit cold, but once you're in, if you keep moving and swimming, you're fine. Ahh I love swimming. Tim sat poolside while Mom and I did some leisurely laps. Anyway, for dinner we went to the Boston Market that was also really close to the motel (we walked, and could have walked the night before to the Olive Garden but no one believed me that it was really close & easier than getting the truck turned around w/ U-turns). Afterwards, Mom and I did laundry at my place, and took a trip to Safeway for last minute stuff. Then she left to sleep at the motel, and I stayed to do a few more things and spend my first night in my studio.

Thurs. Mom and Tim helped me with things I can't do (i.e. things involving a tool box), and then we got an antenna for my tv at Target. By that time they needed to leave... very sad to say goodbye! I loved having them here to explore & set up with me. Luckily I got together with Jessika later, as we crashed a new faculty meet-and-greet & took some cookies, and eventually found the grad school mixer. We met one chemistry student, Ngon, and talked about bugs & learning tips, etc. After, I accompanied Jess in her pursuit to reclaim her bedding, which was stored at her advisor's house. Later, we watched the OC (which was horribly fuzzy on my TV, next time I've got to see if anyone's watching in the lounge!!), ate popcorn, and watched A Midsummer's Night Dream, despite getting quite sleepy! Jess slept over, as it was late and we were both exhausted. And the bed, let's face it, is huge. It takes up like half my studio space!

Anyway, so yesterday was my first like English specific thing... an orientation, where we met the grad studies director, chair of the dept, and the director of the dual Phd in Humanities program. It was great chatting, catching up, planning OC and Desperate Housewives nights, and asking the third years all manner of questions... One of the co-chairs of the Review Club, Claire, was excited that I knew Madison and was used to the farmer's markets, and advised me to visit the Menlo Park farmer's market here on Sunday mornings. So I think I'm going to take a very long walk tomorrow to do just that, and get my bearings around this place!

I was actually surprised I didn't get lost yesterday, going from the EV Community Ctr, to Old Union for my ID, to building 460. I got to the orientation waaay early... and read my newspaper. Anyway, it only took me 13 minutes to walk to my studio, so I don't know if I'll really need a bike or not. Guess we'll see after this farmer's market tomorrow. I'm just used to walking and hiking, but who knows... maybe I'll become a bike convert.

After getting home, Jess and I got together, as I made pesto and we just hung out and watched some Super Nanny (which was what the one station that I get really well was playing).

Kinda strange to wake up here with nothing much to do -- but I know that won't be the norm! Time to do laundry, now...

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