I have officially given up on Blogger, I tried, I really did, but I have finally decided to get rid of it and do my own thing. I thought about migrating everything over to this site, including the backlog of stuff I wrote on Blogger and never published because I got frustrated trying to format it, but decided for simplicity’s sake to just start fresh.
And since I am starting fresh, what better time than the beginning of a new year? I am setting myself a challenge to post to this site at least once a week for at least one year. To kick that off I thought I would do a year in review for two reasons; one, I wrote a lot of it on Blogger and never formatted it, and two, context for the coming year.
When 2013 began I was working two jobs, one of which was driving me insane and the other I loved. Not a lot happened in January other than being super cold when outside and ridiculously hot when inside due to an issue with the heater at my good job.
In February Les and I took a trip to Pittsburgh for no reason. I love going places for the sake of going. We also visited several New York State Parks in an attempt to get the value out of our Empire Pass. In doing so we learned that most State Parks don’t charge admission in the off season, but we saw some really cool places.
For Les’s birthday we took what would wind up being our final trip to Toronto (at least for the foreseeable future, I’m not saying we’ll never go back) and, for the first time, went to a bar and drank green beer. Also as part of Les’s birthday celebrations we got to see The Book of Mormon in Rochester, it was uproariously funny and worth every penny. Earlier in the month Les’s brother – who follows us around the country – came out to Rochester and we spent the day with him visiting. He and Les had the standard neighborhood/mission nostalgia conversation, while I tried to convince him not to move himself and his very-soon-to-be-knocked-up wife to the area. (Spoiler alert – I failed).
The month of showers brought another of Les’s siblings to Western NY, his sister, Liz, and her oldest son did a little educational/Mormon-history tour and stayed in Erie, PA with Liz’s sister-in-law. On their way back to Erie we met up and had dinner with them at our favorite Mexican restaurant in Rochester. Later in the month we took another trip, this time to New Jersey. Les attended an SPJ conference and I took photos of New Jersey to cross another state off my list. While there we took a side trip to New York City and had dinner with a Les’s childhood friend Brittany and her daughter at a wonderful Italian restaurant on Long Island. In summary – April was the month of super-Mormon, suburban nostalgia and excellent food.
In May Les was laid off from his job and we had to start planning for big changes in our lives. We knew that we would probably be moving when he got a new job so we canceled our plans for a summer camping trip in Maine and New Brunswick and redoubled our efforts to see as many of New York’s State Parks as possible. I think my favorite of the ones we visited in that time was Ft. Niagara. We got sidetracked on this journey by discovering the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge and spending far more time there than anticipated.
Before the official start of summer Les had offers from a few different places and we had visited a few more state parks. We also spent another full day at the Wildlife reserve and I took hundreds of pictures. Eventually Les decided on taking a job in Oregon and we began the process of finding a new place to live and moving across the entire damn country again. Toward the end of the month I finally quit my job at the Goodwill. We decided to drive the entire way to Oregon on back roads and discovered that with only a few extra miles we could drive the entire length of US Hwy. 20, the longest highway in the United States. After I quit at the Goodwill we did the first leg of that trip by going to Boston and, beginning at Kenmore Square, drove the first approximately 400 miles of US 20.
In the first week of July I quit my good job, we packed up everything and left the best house we’ve ever lived in, Oregon bound. We drove US 20 nearly the entire way and experienced small town America that the interstate had bypassed for the most part, it makes a major difference when driving long distances to not be on the interstate. We drove 3,125 miles exactly in 6 days with 77 hours and 55 minutes of actual drive time. Along the way we met up with my cousin Terra, whom I hadn’t seen in 12 years, experienced and incredible midwestern thunder and lightning storm, learned that Jet hates horses but not the Amish, and we saw Yellowstone. It was an amazing trip. Les began his job and I looked for work and we explored our new area. About 2 weeks after we arrived in Oregon our car hit 200,000 miles (and is still going strong). Toward the end of the month we discovered that Luna had a lump on her hind quarter that was getting larger and causing her pain. On July 31st she had surgery to remove it.
August was more of Les working and me looking for work. We also did some more exploring but couldn’t do too much as Luna needed to be watched pretty much all the time. By the time my birthday rolled around she was able to be left without her cone on and we took a trip down to the Redwoods, it was overwhelmingly cool and I took some fun pictures.
Since we were on the West Coast again we were able to make it to my step-sister’s wedding. Another trip to Utah, we spent a little time with Les’s family and a little time with mine and I took a few pictures. When we got back we explored a few more beaches and toward the end of the month I finally found a job.
For our wedding anniversary Les and I found a lovely little Italian restaurant in Coos Bay. We explored a bit more of the coast, going as far north as Lincoln City and we visited several State Parks in the local area to do some hiking and photography.
Autumn on the coast made me really appreciate the climate on the Oregon Coast, it was the same temperature in November as it was in July and there was no snow. And the best part was that it didn’t slow down our exploring of our new area. Also during the month of November, Les and I became real Oregonians, we bought a Subaru, Les got hipster glasses, and I started wearing skinny jeans out in public (I own 2 pairs, both were cheap and I enjoy the feeling of taking them off more than I enjoy wearing them).
In December Les and I went to Shore Acres park to see the Christmas lights, I think they were the best Christmas lights I’ve ever seen because they were all locally themed, not Christmas themed in the least, there were sea creatures and animated ocean scenes and other local wildlife portrayed in lights. We also took our first vacation since moving to Oregon. We drove up the coast all the way to Seaside and stayed in an ocean-front suite with a fireplace and a jacuzzi. We bought a bottle of wine and had a stereotypical romantic getaway. The next day we headed into Portland and went on a bit of a shopping spree – the end result of which was a bunch of new work clothes, several birthday gifts (even though the next birthday in either of our families isn’t until February), a cartload of Costco groceries, and a brand new kitchen table from Ikea (that I absolutely love, it’s the first time we’ve had a kitchen table since we left WA). The trip was topped off with a Third Eye Blind concert and another night in a hotel suite that was bigger than the first two places we lived together.
So that was 2013, the major lesson to be learned from it is that the only constant in life is change, accept it and be happy.