31 October 2014

Day 2 - Oregon and Yellowstone Trip


I plan our day in the morning while watching the sun rise.  I could live here!  The evening weather is marvelously cool and the views are spectacular.

Breakfast includes oatmeal, collected berries, and left over peanut butter, a tortilla with Daiya cheese and tofu.

Our main goal for the day - the Portland Japanese Garden.  With its minimal use of concrete, I rather enjoyed the layout and plant exhibits.  The small number of attendees made for a serenely enjoyable morning.  Beautiful LIVING Japanese Maples were everywhere (I've successfully killed every single Japanese Maple I've purchased ... I had plenty of help in the form of he who turns off the automatic watering for vacation).  This park morning was a lovely start to our day.  Not many pictures, more of an experience to simply live within.

Fencing at the Portland Japanese Garden.

A walkway at the Portland Japanese Garden.

The largest waterfall at Portland's Japanese Garden.

Afterward we drive toward Veggie Grill in downtown, find parking (not the easiest thing to do in the city ... I wonder what tourist season is like?), and bip into the Mountain Hardwear store to peruse their gear (the hubby finds a jacket - does he want it?  Does he need it?  Will he use it?  Will he dispose of some items to make room for this new jacket ... Hmmmmmm).

Off to Veggie Grill for lunch: chili, portobello skewers, and Chickn' Salad.  

Back to Mountain Hardwear to purchase jacket for himself.  Yes, he wants and needs and will wear it.  And yes, he will get rid of his ratty old jacket and even more ratty hat in order to make room for the newest arrival.  I will hold him to it!  (Update - the hat was left behind in Yellowstone, and the new jacket was worn daily at the park.  The ratty old jacket?  I'll have to search for that one ...)

Then to the Oregon Rail Heritage Museum.  It has several large engines, but it's all train to me.  I remember the building was hot!  The days were hitting the 90s (32 C) and that glass exterior was an excellent greenhouse.  Pant, pant.

Retail therapy follows at Icebreaker clothing store.  They have released my Villa skirt in chocolate (oh, my color!), and I snap it off the rack in a moment (I think I strained something).  If anyone had eyed my find, there could have been a fight ... that's mine!  

While checking out, I hear about their outlet in Woodburn, we must visit on our way south.  Ah, more merino clothing in my future ... possibly.

Sizzle Pie bound for dinner to go: Word Salad, mushroom and black olive for himself, broccoli and tomato for me (they have Daiya cheese). Sizzle Pie is in a rougher area of town, but I noticed it is more "wannabe rough" compared to Houston!  

We have seen more tattoos here than any other city we've visited, and certainly more full sleeves than I have ever glimpsed.  We joke that if we were to move to the area, we might have to succumb to an ink gun in order to better fit within the populace (we are currently tattooed by nothing but the natural scars that develop living life).  Alternatively, we could invest in gobs of stick-on tats!  (You think the neighbors would figure us out?)  

According to Charli Shuler's TotalBeauty article "10 U.S. Cities with the most Tattoos" Portland is the 6th most tattooed city in the US, based on tattoo parlors to population.
1) Los Angeles, CA
2) Kansas City, MO
3) Honolulu, HI
4) San Francisco, CA
5) Austin, TX (obviously, I haven't been to Austin in a while)
6) Portland, OR

Rental bound for rest and relaxation.  Yoga in the evening ... I held Pincha Mayurasana against the wall for several seconds!  Wahoo!  Of course the grace which with I throw myself again the wall leaves much to be desired ...

Astavakrasana at the Portland Japanese Garden ... this was not held long enough to get great pics!

And Crow at the garden

Day 1 - Oregon and Yellowstone Trip


Oregon has been on my must see list for several years.  I fell in love with Western Washington in 2008, but it seems awfully expensive ... not to mention really wet.  California suffers from the same dollar shock issues, but is far too dry.

Oregon must fall somewhere in the middle, right? 

Himself has a lifelong love affair with Yellowstone, and has (repeatedly) suggested it as a vacation destination.  I finally agreed, but only if I could spend a week in Oregon on the same trip.

Little brother plays chauffeur for our mid morning flight, the sky is raining.

A small hitch, our TSA agent (initials GPL) will not follow TSA's own identification requirements.  He actually said, "Well, I will not accept your ID."  Wow!

Another hitch, there's a seriously noisy kid behind us on plane, it cried for about an hour (I vacillated between "poor thing" and "ugh!").  Himself has a pair of noise cancelling headphones.  A good friend who regularly flies internationally has a pair of noise cancelling headphones.  Both have urged me to get myself a pair ... now I know why.

Last hitch, I slept somewhat, but my seat did not recline, so sleep was neither deep nor comfortable. 

And thus begins our Oregon experience.

A view from the plane ... we have reached Oregon.  But what mountain top are we photographing?  Is that Mount Hood?

Portland showcases a very nice airport - clean, easy to maneuver.  First built in 1959 according to wiki, it has been updated and expanded several times.  But compared to Houston International Airport (opened 1969) and Denver International Airport (opened 1995), I was blown away by its updated, modern, and CLEAN facility.  I will grant that Houston and Denver experience a much higher passenger load than Portland, between 3-4 times as many visitors.

The current art installation (by Jacquline Hurlbert) consisted of eye-catching sculptures.   

Following the hour or so I spent at their awesome little visitor's center, I leave piled down with several pounds of pamphlets, magazines, and publications for the entire state.  I spent several hours pouring over this information later on ... and have kept several of them as reference material.

A small section of Hurlbert's art installation at the Oregon airport.

A rental was acquired (a Dodge Durango?) and pointed downtown for a drive to luncheon destination "Veggie Grill."  Nachos, Quinoa Power Salad, and Crispy Chickin' Plate.

Heading for a grocery store found us dodging construction, closed streets, and an interesting parking situation.  Yes, you may put your 1.5 hour parking charge on a credit card.

The "Whole Foods" stock up experience always intrigues.  The differences from one part of the country to another fascinates me: store layout, size, manufacturers offered, prices, etc.  Not to mention how local is their local produce?

We finally navigate to our rental home NW of Portland.  Lovely area.  Property has blackberry shrubs loaded with fruit, and we spend an hour or so picking through what we can reach!

Blackberry haul ... in a soup mug.

Sit through Roku TV experience, we are not impressed ... No local news.  Repeat, not impressed.

Our rental is missing some basics: water glasses, kitchen towels, measuring spoons, toaster oven, tea, and spices.  However, there are several types of salt!

I begin my yoga in the evening habit, planning to make use of my Android tablet to play several stored hours of YouTube video each day.  Pincha Mayurasana is so close ... my shoulder girdle strength improves with each dolphin.  Shana Meyers, the yogi at http://yogathletica.com/, has some awesome tutorials.

A view from our rental ... the blackberry shrubs are 5-6 feet tall (1.5-1.8 meters) in the foreground.  Our host gave us such a funny look when we asked if picking was acceptable ... we later realize the entire multi-acre property is surrounded by the plants!

13 October 2014

Heart Rate Monitor Damage

In deep summer (Jul/Aug timeframe), I decided to pick up running again ... outside.  I had only run on the treadmill previously since a start time of 4 am necessitated indoor as opposed to outdoor activities.

It is a great stress reliever, calorie burner, and one of the few exercise activities in which dogs can easily participate (strangely, gyms seem to frown on canine companions).

Shortly thereafter, I began developing a persistent rash that quickly devolved into broken skin.  And I will not share how much pain I was in during those last couple miles of each and every single run.

Behold the joys of living in humid environs ...

This is my upper ab/lower chest where the transmitter of my heart rate monitor rests during exercise.

This did not heal for a month (the surrounding skin remained very healthy being regularly slathered in almond oil or shea butter to reduce further irritation).  This experience was my reminder that anti-chafe products are worth their weight in gold (so-to-speak).

I repurchased Body Glide (http://www.bodyglide.com/products/) "The Original" to see me through the rest of summer.

However, I'm on the lookout for a spray product for easier application.  

I ordered Skin Strong's "Slik Skin" (http://skinstrong.com/slik-anti-chafing-spray/) for testing.  I could not find any locally, so the internets to the rescue once again.

This rash issue has not re-occurred (although today's run in the drizzle was hot and moist ... ick).  However, I have been flipping my HRT 180 degrees to minimize contact.  

I now wear it upside down.

My transmitter is the Polar Wearlink.  Photographs borrowed from http://www.wristopcomputer.co.uk and http://www.heartmonitors.com.